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History of the Bureau of Engineering Navy Department During the World War 

Published under the direction of The Hon. Edwin Denby, Secretary of the Navy

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Cover image - History of the Bureau of Engineering



Publication Number 5



Published under the direction of
The Hon. EDWIN DENBY, Secretary of the Navy







ENGINEER IN CHIEF ROBERT S. GRIFFIN, U.S. NAVY, Chief of Bureau of Steam Engineering
ENGINEER IN CHIEF ROBERT S. GRIFFIN, U.S. NAVY, Chief of Bureau of Steam Engineering


This description of the operations of the Bureau of Engineering (formerly Bureau of Steam Engineering) during the World War was prepared at the request of the Historical Section by Rear Admiral Robert S. Griffin, Engineer in Chief, U. S. Navy, Chief of Bureau, the distinguished officer on whom rested the responsibility for the varied and extensive duties and activities of the Bureau and its branches, so ably and efficiently performed.

W. D. MacDougall,
Captain, U S. Navy, Officer in Charge,
Office of Naval Records and Library, and Historical Section.
July 20, 1921.






In preparing this narrative of the operations of the Bureau during the war, I have been embarrassed on account of the fact that most of it was written so long after the events recorded—when the officers intimately associated with the work had either been ordered to sea duty or placed on inactive duty—that it has been almost impossible to give adequate space to many matters that deserve recognition. In some cases the records of important undertakings were so condensed, on account of war conditions, as to give all too brief mention of events that are deserving of extended notice. However, the entire story is submitted in the belief that the facts recorded have in them sufficient merit to be of general interest to all officers of the Navy, as well as to engineers either directly or remotely interested in the activities of that Bureau of the Navy Department which is responsible for the efficient operation of the motive power of our ships.

To Commander William L. Cathcart. U. S. Naval Reserve Force, I am under special obligation for assistance in preparing and in editing the manuscript.

R. S. Griffin,
Engineer in Chief, U. S. Navy,
Chief of Bureau.

May 8, 1921.



In order that the scope of the work performed by the Bureau of Steam Engineering1 may be clearly understood, there is submitted below a brief summary of its functions during the war.

The Navy Regulations state in broad terms that the duties of the Bureau comprise, amongst others, “all that relates to designing, building, fitting out, and repairing machinery used for the propulsion of naval ships,” the word “ships” including all floating craft of whatever description. The Bureau’s field is, therefore, largely that of dynamical engineering, covering the design, construction, maintenance, and repair of all steam and internal combustion engines used for propelling vessels of the Navy, as well as the electric motors and generators used in the case of “electric drive ” ships, and the storage batteries and electric motors for submarines. This includes not only the main engines and boilers but also all the auxiliaries and accessories necessary for the successful operation of the engines and for their maintenance in efficient condition.

The electrical engineering work of the Bureau comprises a great variety of duties besides those connected with the propulsion of ships. These duties are defined by regulation as “the entire system of interior communications * * * interior and exterior signal communications (except range finders and battle order transmitters and indicators), and of all electrical appliances of whatsoever nature on board naval vessels, except motors and their controlling apparatus used to operate the machinery belonging to other bureaus.” This means that the Bureau supplies the electric generators, switchboards and wiring, the call bells and buzzers, voice tubes, telephones, engine and steering telegraphs and transmitters, searchlights and electric lighting generally, and supplies electric current for all purposes for which it is used, whether it be for operating a turret turning motor, a feed pump, a flat iron, or a cigar lighter. It also supplies portable ventilating fans for use in officers’ quarters and in those portions of the ship which are not easily reached by the ship’s ventilating system.


1 Title changed June 4, 1920, to Bureau of Engineering.


In radio engineering, the Bureau’s field is a wide one, and during the war comprehended the radio installation on every ship that flew the American flag, as well as the design and supply of the equipment for all shore stations in the United States and in our island possessions, and also for a large station just completed at Bordeaux, France.

A new duty that devolved on it during the war was the provision of devices for detecting the presence of submarines and of aircraft.

In the aeronautic field, the Bureau’s duties cover the same kind of work as for surface vessels, i. e., it supplies the machinery and its accessories, and is also charged with responsibility for the generation and supply of gas for observation balloons and for dirigibles.

Besides the duties mentioned, which may be considered as relating chiefly to the material features necessary for operating the ship, many others devolve on the Bureau relating to the health and comfort of the crew. Chief among these is the provision of a supply of salt water for sanitary purposes, and of fresh water for drinking and bathing, which in a battleship of 2,500 men rises to the proportion of the waterworks of a small town. The allowance of fresh water is liberal, and finds its return in the health, the comfort, and the contentment of the crew. Next in importance to this is the provision of machinery and appliances for making ice, and for cooling the refrigerating rooms so that fresh provisions may be always available and thus contribute to the reputation which the Navy enjoys of being the best fed Navy in the world.

The Bureau also heats the ship by steam and by electric power and supplies the same power for cooking.

With so much machinery and so many appliances to care for, it is necessary that the ships be provided with engineering supplies and with hand and machine tools for keeping this equipment in serviceable condition. To accomplish this the Bureau provides a machine shop on each ship with facilities suited to her ordinary needs. For heavier work it equips the shops of the repair ships which accompany the fleet so that any work within reason may be undertaken. Similarly, at navy yards, it decides upon and supplies the equipment of the shops of the Machinery Division, and is held responsible for the adequacy of that equipment.

For engineering supplies, the Bureau decides on the allowance of each kind which shall be issued to each ship, and on the quantity to be carried in stock; it draws the specifications for their purchase, inspects during manufacture those of a technical character, and passes upon the award of contract for them.

It maintains at each shipbuilding establishment that has a contract for building ships for the Navy an inspection force presided over by an officer of experience, whose duty it is to see that the requirements


of the specifications are faithfully observed, and that when ready for delivery to the Government the ship is in all respects complete and ready for service. A like organization for the inspection of engineering material is maintained in a number of districts into which the country has been divided, whose function it is to see that the chemical and physical characteristics of material comply with the specified requirements before it is shipped to the building yards for incorporation in the ship. Where completely fabricated articles are manufactured the inspection extends to the completed article.

The inspection of fuel is also under the Bureau.

At Annapolis it maintains an experiment station where special problems are investigated and tests made of engineering devices which appear to possess merit and whose installation in naval vessels would be desirable.

It will be seen then that the Bureau’s field is most extensive with regard to the material of the fleet, both in its provision and operation. In sum, it covers everything necessary for propulsion, whether the vessel operates on the surface of the water, beneath it, or in the air. It provides such "public utilities” as a central power plant furnishing light, heat, and power for a multitude of activities necessary for the military efficiency of the ship and the comfort of her crew; a cold-storage plant, telephone service, telegraphic service by radio, and an aqueduct in miniature. It provides also everything necessary for the maintenance in efficient operation of all these services and for many others of less importance.

Just what this represents in figures may be judged from a consideration of a few facts bearing on these activities. During the fiscal year ending June 30, 1918, the expenditures of the Bureau reached the sum of $283,742,767, which is nearly six times those of the preceding year, during three months of which we were at war.

The motive power of the fleet, including that of all the new vessels authorized, the ex-German ships, the patrol and other vessels reached the enormous figure of 11,000,000 horsepower. An appreciation of this power may be had from a consideration of the fact that it is more than twenty times as great as the horsepower of our fleet during the Spanish-American War. It is about eighteen times the power developed on both sides of Niagara Falls, and is also equal to about one-fourth the primary fuel and water power now employed in land service in the United States, not including the locomotives.


The administration of the Bureau is vested in a chief of bureau, an assistant to the bureau, and a chief clerk: and its various duties, clerical and technical, are performed by divisions, each technical


division being presided over by an officer specially qualified by experience for the performance of the duties pertaining thereto. These are:

The Clerical Division.

The Division of Design.

The Electrical Division.

The Radio Division.

The Division of Aeronautics.

The Division of Repairs.

The Inspection Division.

The Supply Division.

The Fuel and Personnel Division.

The Division of Logs and Records.

The Clerical Division is in charge of the chief clerk and has supervision of all clerical activities, financial returns and records, and of the file room, and maintains a record of the classified employees of the Bureau and of inspection offices.

The Division of Design has control of the design of machinery and of alterations therein, and prepares the specifications for new machinery. It has supervision of the construction of machinery, as well as of the contracts and payments therefore. It also has under its direction the engineering experiment station and the oil-fuel testing plant.

The Electrical Division has charge of the design and specifications for all electrical apparatus, for interior communication and wiring systems, searchlights, storage batteries, and motors for submarines.

The Radio Division has similar control over the design and supply of all radio apparatus for ship and shore installations and for aircraft, and also of sound detection matters, though during the war this activity was with the Electrical Division.

The Division of Aeronautics has in a general way the same control over aircraft machinery that the Division of Design has over surface craft, but there is necessarily close cooperation between the two divisions respecting certain features of design.

The Division of Repairs has charge of all repairs to machinery of vessels of the fleet, whether done at a navy yard or elsewhere. It also is charged with the manufacture of steam and gasoline engines for power boats, and of records pertaining thereto. Technical questions arising are referred to the division concerned for comment. It prepares allowance lists for all ships.

The Inspection Division is charged with supervision of the inspection of material, of the preparation of specifications, the conduct of tests, and the records of tests.


The Supply Division handles requisitions from ships and navy yards, prepares Bureau requisitions, analyzes bids received for material, and makes recommendations regarding award of contracts. It also has charge of production matters and of cost of work.

The Fuel and Personnel Division, as its designation implies, handles two widely different subjects. It prepares specifications for fuel and supervises its inspection, and has general supervision of the naval petroleum reserves. In conference with the Bureau of Navigation, it suggests the detail of officers for certain duty of an engineering character.

The Division of Logs and Records prepares and issues blank forms for use in the engineer department of ships, reviews and analyzes the steam logs, and prepares for issue to the naval service engineering information of interest and value.

The chief of bureau determines questions of Bureau policy, authorizes expenditures, and decides important matters of detail as well as many minor ones.

The assistant to the bureau, in the absence of the chief of bureau, assumes his duties and responsibilities. In general he handles routine business in technical and administrative affairs, and has general supervision of the equipment of shops of the Machinery Division of navy yards.

In the absence of the chief of bureau and the assistant to the bureau, the chief clerk acts as chief of bureau.

This organization was not one created for the war or under war-conditions, but was one that had been built up during the preceding 30 years, and is the development of one inaugurated about that time by Mr. Asa M. Mattice, at that time an engineer officer of the Navy. That it stood the test of war conditions and required no change whatever in its basic principle is the best evidence that can be given of its excellence. Additions and extensions were made as conditions dictated the necessity therefor, but no change was made in the system.


Prior to the beginning of the war, the officer personnel of the Bureau consisted of 35 commissioned officers, a number insufficient even under peace conditions to satisfactorily conduct the diversified duties for which the Bureau was responsible. To meet the greatly enlarged demands that would come with war, when every officer who could possibly be spared would be wanted for sea duty, was not a pleasant situation to contemplate, and in preparing for this condition relief was naturally sought from the retired list of the Navy, where officers of naval education and training could be found who would be capable of filling some of the most important positions, and who would bring to the performance of their duty knowledge of


naval conditions and demands which it would have taken a civilian months and in some cases years to acquire.

Accordingly, in the preparation of the mobilization scheme which was prepared far in advance of our entrance into the war, certain officers of engineering education and training were selected for duty in the Bureau, and in offices of inspectors of machinery and of engineering material, on boards, and for special duty; and but for the fortuitous circumstance that these experienced officers were available, it would have been well-nigh impossible to have handled the enormous business that fell to the lot of the Bureau to administer.

Some of these officers had been retired for age, others for physical disability which did not prevent the performance of shore duty, and all had been notified in advance of the duty to which they would be assigned, so that a telegram directing them to report was all that was necessary to have them on duty again. One served as assistant to the Bureau for nearly a year during the war and for a considerable period thereafter; another, who had previously been in charge of the Division of Design, cheerfully took up the duty of a subordinate in that division; while a third, whom the Bureau intended to utilize in an advisory capacity, became a member of the Priorities Committee of the War Industries Board. Others served either as heads of divisions or as subordinates in the Bureau, and as inspectors. One of the former relinquished a very lucrative position in civil life to resume his naval status. All served with a spirit and an enthusiasm that merit the highest commendation.

But retired officers were far too few in number to fill the demand, and the next step was to survey the list of former officers of the Navy who had resigned and all of whom were eager to return to the service. Many of them were enrolled in the Naval Reserve, but many others occupied such important positions in educational and industrial fields as to make it almost obligatory upon the Government to insist that they continue the work upon which they were engaged.

The next class from which it seemed most desirable to recruit engineering talent was the shipbuilding establishments and the engineering firms who specialized in naval equipment, but here again arose the question of priority. These establishments were daily becoming busier and more necessary than ever to the successful prosecution of the war, and to weaken their organization would be suicidal. In fact it was felt that everything possible should be done to keep those several organizations intact and, if possible, to strengthen them. It was clear that assistance from this field could not be thought of.

Meanwhile many offers of service were made by patriotic engineers who were eager to volunteer in any capacity; and while the services of some were accepted, it was felt that in most cases the applicants


were either too advanced in years for the subordinate positions to which they would necessarily have to be assigned or that the industrial field offered better opportunity for the exercise of their ability.

With all these conditions confronting us, recourse was eventually had to transferring from the Naval Reserve young officers whose training had been along engineering lines and who were favorably reported on by the district commandant or commanding officer under whom they were serving. In addition the Bureau of Navigation had, upon recommendation of the Bureau of Steam Engineering and approval of the Secretary of the Navy, conducted an examination for the enrollment as ensigns of 100 electrical engineers selected from a list of 250 applicants who had been recommended by the Naval Consulting Board, the National Research Council, and the American Institute of Electrical Engineers. Capt. R. H. Leigh, the assistant to the bureau, was the president of the board. The officers thus appointed rendered excellent service, and several of them were, after limited experience afloat, assigned to duty in the Bureau.

Qualified aviation personnel did not exist, and it was necessary to find men who were known to have a bent toward mechanical engineering problems, and in most cases send them to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for an intensive course in aviation engineering that had been established there, thence to the airplane or engine factories for a short tour under the inspection officer, and then to duty in the Bureau, where they specialized on one particular part of the power plant of aircraft. This method was also followed in building up the inspection force, some selections being made every three months from each class that passed through the school. The men were awarded a commission in class 5 of the Naval Reserve Force after successfully passing through the weeding-out process and a probationary period of actual service. A few reserve officers were also obtained from the air stations for inspection duty. An excellent class of men who worked loyally and earnestly at all times was obtained.

Advantage was also taken of the transfer of the Coast Guard to the Navy to secure the assignment of some officers of that service to duty in the Bureau and for inspection. It is no less a duty than a pleasure to state that they rendered excellent service.

From these various sources, the officer personnel of the Bureau was recruited until at the time of the armistice it numbered 143, distributed as follows: Officers of the active list, 21; retired officers. 10; temporary officers, 6: reserve officers, 99; Coast Guard officers, 6; Army officers, 1.

These officers, one and all, worked with zeal and devotion. Office hours were forgotten, night work and work on Sundays and holi-


days, though not continuous, was so generally pursued as to make it almost routine. A night detail was always in effect, one officer being specially detailed for a certain period and his name and telephone number registered so that he might be available at an instant’s notice.

Shortly after the declaration of war, Admiral Sims advised that officers qualified in mechanical and electrical engineering be sent to London where the British Admiralty had expressed a willingness to give the fullest information regarding technical matters which had developed during the war and which should be known to all the Allies. Advantage was taken of this offer to send Commander G. W. S. Castle and Commander S. M. Robinson, who were not only given the widest opportunity for investigation at the Admiralty, but also were permitted to visit vessels of the Grand Fleet at Scapa Flow. The information they acquired was of great value, especially in fire-control work.

Later Lieut. Commander W. A. Smead, U. S. Navy, and Lieut. G. M. Brush, U. S. Naval Reserve Force, were sent to France and England in connection with aircraft material, and Commander J. O. Fisher, U. S. Navy, in connection with submarines. In each case much information of value was obtained.

Early in 1917 the French and the British Governments sent commissions to this country who contributed exceptionally valuable information respecting the methods in vogue abroad for the detection of submarines. The French Commission, composed of Majs. Fabry and Abrahams, brought samples of detection devices and other apparatus which were of great assistance in the development work we were then undertaking. Commander Bridge, R. N. and Sir Ernest Rutherford gave the fullest information respecting the work of the British, which enabled us to begin with the best information obtainable.

Additional assistants for the offices of inspectors of machinery and inspectors of engineering material were obtained through district commandants from the list of enrolled officers and petty officers. In special cases, such as the production officers, who were specially selected men above draft age and of extensive experience, enrollment was made directly by the Navy Department.

For a time inspection of material was seriously hampered because many of our trained assistant inspectors were lured to service under the War Department by offers of a commission and much higher pay than was possible of attainment under the Navy Department. This obtained also to a certain extent amongst civilian employees of the Bureau.

The administrative officers of the Bureau during the period from April 6, 1917, to November 11, 1918, were:


Rear Admiral Robert S. Griffin, Engineer in Chief, U. S. Navy.

Assistant to bureau, Capt. R. H. Leigh, U. S. Navy.

Assistant to bureau, Capt. O. W. Koester, U. S. Navy (retired).

Chief clerk, Mr. A. C. Wrenn.

Special duty, Lieut. Commander W. L. Cathcart, U. S. Naval Reserve Force.

Rear Admiral A. V. Zane, U. S. Navy (retired), representing Bureau of Steam Engineering on Priorities Committee, War Industries Board.


While the conditions affecting the filling of the complement of technical officers were such as to cause no little concern, the situation with respect to the civilian working force was one that required unceasing attention.

In January, 1917, this force consisted of 50 clerks and messengers and 37 draftsmen and technical employees, a total of 87. The preparations that were made between that date and the declaration of war were such as to require a considerable increase in the technical force, which increase it was not possible to secure in the orthodox manner through the Civil Service Commission because the appropriation fixed by Congress limited the amount that might be expended for such service and also the number of employees. All bureaus were experiencing the same difficulty, and relief finally came through the Bureau of Navigation, which enrolled in the Naval Reserve in the various grades of yeoman a number of female clerks (reservists F), who were assigned to duty in the Bureau. But for this assignment, it would not have been possible to carry out the preparations that were made before the declaration of war, at which time the total number of employees engaged in clerical work numbered 84, an increase of 34.

The demand for additional civilian assistants increased by leaps and bounds and greatly exceeded the supply of competent availables. Even with a reduction in the requirements, it was difficult to obtain the desired employees. Every means was used to increase the number, such as appeals to business colleges outside of Washington; and though difficulty was experienced, it is gratifying to state that all immediately urgent needs were met and that the efficiency of the Bureau was at no time impaired by lack of adequate civilian force.

On armistice day this force had grown to the following proportions :

Civilians (clerks) 170
Civilians, draftsmen and technical employees 103
Naval reservists 282
Total 555


Twenty-five of the civilian employees entered the military or naval service, as follows:

Brady, John B., ensign, U. S. Naval Reserve Force.

Brandon, Valentine N., corporal, 335th Machine Gun Battalion.

Conrad. Amos W., jr., corporal, Headquarters, 372d Infantry.

Dean, William R., jr., corporal, 164th Depot Brigade.

Dickson, Walter S., carpenter’s mate, second class, U. S. Naval Reserve Force.

Elliott, Charles A., private, U. S. Marine Corps.

Gladmon, Cassin G., private, Sanitary Detachment, Camp Meade.

Goldstein, Bernard S., chief yeoman, U. S. Naval Reserve Force.

Hill, Guy, captain, Signal Corps, U. S. Army.

King, Benedict J., musician, Headquarters, 371st Infantry.

Lanigan, Arthur L., Students Army Training Corps.

Laning, Benjamin A., ensign, U. S. Naval Reserve Force.

McCutcheon, Ross, private, Tank Corps.

Manitsky, Benjamin P., sergeant, Headquarters, Camp Upton.

Martin, William L., private, Tank Corps.

Reubenbaum, Samuel P., Headquarters, 79tb Division.

Roberts, Daniels Q., chief yeoman, U. S. Naval Reserve Force.

Rundorff, Robert L., Officers Material School, U. S. Naval Reserve Force.

Sparrow, Marion C., private, Tank Corps.

Spring, Arlington C., second lieutenant, Engineer Corps. U. S. Army.

Stein, Anders C., chief yeoman, U. S. Naval Reserve Force.

Tallman, Henry W., second lieutenant, Aviation Corps, U. S. Army.

Volinsky, Harry, corporal, 67th Infantry.

Woulfe, Robert E., chief yeoman, U. S. Naval Reserve Force.

The principal civilian employees of the Bureau during this period were:

Name. Rating.
Wrenn, A. C. Chief clerk.
Moran, F. S. Clerk to Engineer in Chief.
Christman, A. L. Financial clerk and accountant.
Warman, F. C. Chief of Files Division.
Biggers, A. B. Principal clerk, Electrical Division.
Haslett, L. J . Principal clerk, Radio Division.
Hughes, M. G. Principal clerk, Supply Division.
Fessenden, A. G. Principal clerk, Ships’ Repairs Division.
Orrison, A. M. Miscellaneous furniture and supplies.
Sicard, W. F. Chief machinery draftsman.
Thurston, P. K. Assistant chief machinery draftsman.
Gatchel, T. L. Chief electrical draftsman.
Trogner, A. M. Chief radio draftsman.
Carter, G. O. Consulting engineer, hydrogen gas.
Williams, Karl D. Metallurgical engineer.
Herndon, E. G. Machine tool expert.

Throughout the entire period of the war this force worked with an enthusiasm which bespoke their loyalty to the country and their personal interest in winning the war.



Coincident with this great increase in the personnel of the Bureau came a demand for additional office space. This had been found to be too restricted even for the business of peace times, and the first step in acquiring more was by permission of the Secretaries of State, War, and Navy, to close the southeast driveway of the State, War, and Navy Building, in which the Bureau was then quartered, and to construct therein a one-room frame structure. Later, two additional rooms were acquired by inclosing two balconies leading off the quarters of the Bureau. Then followed occupancy of the hall on the third floor, the renting of three rooms in one building, and two upper floors of two old remodeled buildings at the corner of Seventeenth and G Streets NW. In July, 1917, two divisions of the Bureau were removed to the latter quarters, and in March. 1918, sufficient space was secured in the temporary Government buildings erected at Seventh and B Streets NW. to provide quarters for another division.

While the acquisition of this additional space gave the divisions that remained in the building a little more elbow room, the relief was only temporary, and in a short time the crowded condition again prevailed, and it was not until August. 1918, when the new Navy Building at Seventeenth and B Streets was completed that the Bureau really had sufficient space to transact business properly.

The delays incident to having the work of the Bureau carried on in so many buildings were vexatious to a degree: for while a good telephone and messenger force was established, the chief of Bureau lost that personal contact with the officers in charge of the work of the outlying divisions which is so necessary to satisfactory and expeditious conduct of business.

As a corollary to the increase in personnel and quarters, there came also a big demand for office equipment and supplies. This demand was successfully met, due in no small measure to the splendid cooperation of the Supply Division of the Department, which rendered every assistance in obtaining these necessities in the most direct manner possible.

It will be seen then that when the armistice was declared the Bureau’s force comprised a total of 698 officers and employees and occupied about 2 acres of office space in the new Navy Building.


The first work done by the Bureau of Steam Engineering after the outbreak of the war in August, 1914, in order to keep in touch with the general situation and to make such preparations as might be necessary to insure the readiness of the material under its cognizance to meet any emergency, was to request the Department to


send abroad an officer qualified to investigate the radio situation. This action was taken August 17, 1914, as shown by the following letter:


Navy Department,
Bureau of Steam Engineering,
Washington, August 17, 1914.

From: Bureau of Steam Engineering.
To: Department (Material and Personnel).
Subject: Assignment of specially qualified officer as observer of radio operations in European war.

1. The Bureau invites the Department's attention to the opportunity that is presented in connection with the proposed employment of Army transports in European waters of obtaining information of great value to the naval service. A trained observer having authority to transfer from one of these ships to another, or to United States naval ships in the war zone, could, by simply listening in to the radio communication carried on, acquire information not only as to foreign material equipment but also as to principles of organization and tactical operation in regard to which our service has never received any information and which probably never can be acquired by any other method. It is essential, however, that the officer selected for this duty be one whose qualifications embrace not only expert operating ability but also special training in radio organization as applied to the intricate requirements of tactical use. It happens conveniently that Lieut. S. C. Hooper has just been relieved as fleet radio officer, Atlantic Fleet, and should now be available for this duty. This officer has been engaged during the last two years in establishing an efficient radio organization in the fleet and he is preeminently qualified for the duty suggested. In fact, his special training for this particular work could not have been improved upon by design. The Bureau recommends that the necessary arrangements be made with the War Department and that orders be issued to Lieut. Hooper giving him the largest allowable discretion in obtaining the data desired.

(S.) Griffin.

Orders were issued in accordance with the above recommendation and Lieut. Hooper sailed on the Olympic the latter part of August, 1914, and remained abroad until January, 1915, returning on the St. Paul. The time was spent in England, France, Ireland, Belgium, and Holland. At the time of Lieut. Hooper’s visit to Belgium it was occupied by the Germans, but he was, nevertheless, able to obtain information of value.

It was difficult to obtain information regarding radio matters from the Allies on account of the strict censorship that prevailed, but Lieut. Hooper’s practical knowledge enabled him to listen in at various places and thus to acquire complete knowledge regarding the system employed by them and the use to which radio was put. This information was later found to be correct when we entered the war. He also inspected the apparatus under manufacture for the British Government and visited the principal high-power station at Carnarvon, Wales, which, at that time, was the largest station in existence. The information of most value that he obtained was in


regard to the distant control of radio stations, a system which was later adopted for our Navy.

As a result of the complete information acquired, a board was appointed with a view to improving the communication service of our Navy. The general plan outlined by this board was the foundation of the present organization of the Naval Communication Service and has remained practically unchanged.

On March 13, 1915, the General Board submitted to the Department an outline of a plan of preparedness. This was approved by the Department May 2S, 1915, and the Bureau was directed to make the first report in compliance with this outlined plan in one month following the date of its approval, and subsequent reports quarterly. This was followed by a letter from the Chief of Naval Operations, June 10, 1915, directing the inspection of merchant ships to determine their suitability for use by the Navy, and calling for a report regarding the alterations and additions that would be necessary in order to make them suitable for Navy service.

The first report of the Bureau, dated June 28, 1915, stated that nearly all merchant ships except those for repair and supply ships could be put in service without delay, or without great expenditure; that plans were under way for the conversion of two merchant ships to repair ships; that conferences had been had with the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts respecting supply ships and refrigerating ships; that all auxiliaries could be immediately supplied with searchlights and blinker sets, and with auxiliary radio sets. General comment was made on other features of the order affecting the supply of engineering material. It was stated that the Bureau of Navigation had been furnished with a list of retired officers required for duty under the Bureau; that the Bureau would be ready to make specific recommendations regarding merchant ships as soon as reports of the Board of Inspection and Survey were received. This was followed, on October 8, 1915, by a report that plans had been prepared for the conversion of two repair ships, and attention was invited to the fact that no reports of inspection of merchant ships had yet been received.

October 28, 1915.—A letter was addressed to the commander in chief, Atlantic Fleet, requesting that supply officers of two ships of the fleet be directed to fill in, opposite certain items of the allowance list, the quantity of such material that had been used during six months or a year—this to enable the Bureau to prepare a stock list.

November 9, 1915.—The commandants of all navy yards and stations were directed to submit a detailed plan for the expansion on short notice of the facilities of the machinery divisions of the several yards and stations, and to submit an estimate of the time and cost


for accomplishing this. A similar letter was sent to the naval station, Guantanamo, on January 8, 1916.

November 12, 1915.—The commanders in chief of the Atlantic, Pacific, and Asiatic fleets, Torpedo Flotilla commander, and the commander of the Cruiser Squadron, Atlantic Fleet, were directed to report the engineering material they considered desirable to keep on hand in order to secure a state of preparedness for war. Suggestions were requested as to the engineering material which it was desired to carry on fighting ships, repair ships, and tenders under war conditions, and what similar material should be kept in store for emergency shipment of the fleets.

November 13, 1915.—Letters were addressed to all inspectors of engineering material directing them to report the extent to which the capacity of manufacturing plants in their several districts who were engaged in the manufacture of important engineering material could be increased in case of emergency to meet a sudden demand. A list of the important material was given, and in a letter of December 1, 1915, the inspectors were directed to include machine tools in the list. Similar letters were addressed under date of January 25, 1916. to the inspectors of machinery at the Busch-Sulzer Co., St. Louis. Mo., and at the Babcock & Wilcox Co., Bayonne, N. J., to report on manufacturing plants in the vicinity of their headquarters.

November 22, 1915.—A similar letter was addressed to inspectors of engineering material for a report on articles of electrical equipment.

November 23, 1915.—Letters were addressed to the two principal manufacturers of submarine storage batteries and to the one manufacturer of submarine signaling apparatus asking that they submit a list of the articles, or component parts thereof, which they usually carried in stock, and to keep the Bureau advised of changes as they occurred. A similar letter, dated January 5, 1916, was addressed to the manufacturers of searchlights.

November 30, 1915.—Letters were addressed to the inspectors of machinery at all principal shipyards to report on the machinery repair and building work that could be undertaken in an emergency at the works to which they were assigned, and also of other ship and engine plants in the vicinity that could be relied upon to assist in the preparation for service of the auxiliary fleet.

December 3, 1915.—Letters were addressed to the commandants of all navy yards and stations directing them to submit lists of material which they considered it desirable to carry in stock.

December 7, 1915.—A letter was addressed to the industrial manager, navy yard, Portsmouth, directing him to submit a report on the maximum quantity of articles that could be manufactured with present facilities by an increase in the number of employees, and


similar information regarding the output after 150 days by an increase in the facilities as well as in the number of employees. (The Portsmouth Navy Yard specializes in the manufacture of electrical fittings.)

The second report was dated December 31, 1915, and contained specific recommendations regarding improvements necessary in the machinery divisions of navy yards in order to increase their capacity for work. Difficulty in obtaining machine tools was pointed out. Report was made of the facilities of a number of shipyards and repair plants. Special attention was called to the desirability of increasing the stock of engineering material at navy yards, and much information given regarding sources of supply and available material of an engineering character. A list was given of the auxiliaries to be taken over or chartered, and recommendation made in each case as to the changes that would be required.

Special attention was directed to the inadequacy of the war detail of officers and technical employees under the Bureau, and to the duplication of work by the Navy Department and the War Department, and by different bureaus of the Navy Department, in collecting information to carry out the Department’s order. Recommendation was made for obtaining funds to prepare navy yards so that they might quickly increase their facilities.

This report, which might be considered the first report under the operation of the plan outlined by the General Board, covered detailed reports on 10 navy yards and stations, on 22 shipbuilding and repair establishments, and on 300 manufacturing plants which might be called upon to supply engineering material. The report was of such a comprehensive character as to evoke a commendatory letter from the Chief of Naval Operations. Its preparation, as also that of subsequent ones, was under the special supervision of Capt. R. H. Leigh, assistant to the Bureau.

January 4, 1916.—Inspectors of machinery were directed to report the changes they considered necessary in their office force and office space in order to meet war conditions. The detail of officers assigned for each office under the mobilization plan was forwarded and suggestions requested regarding any modifications that might be considered necessary. A similar letter was sent to the inspectors of engineering material on January 5, 1916.

January 15, 1916.—The Bureau reported to the Department on the difficulty of obtaining engineering supplies and the delay occasioned thereby, cited numerous cases, and recommended that Congressional action be secured in order to assure procurement of such material.

January 28, 1916.—A letter was addressed to the commandants of all navy yards and stations expressing appreciation of the work that had been done in connection with the Bureau’s report of De-


cember 31, 1915, and quoted the commendatory letter received from the Chief of Naval Operations. The opinion of the commandants was requested regarding personnel, and a statement called for as to whether the detail fixed in the mobilization scheme was considered satisfactory. Similar letters were addressed to the inspectors of engineering material and inspectors of machinery.

January 31, 1916.—The commandant of the navy yard, New York, was directed to report on the engineering work that could be undertaken by ship and engine building and repair plants in the vicinity of New York and Jersey City in connection with the alteration, repair, and outfit of vessels that might be taken over for auxiliary service. A similar letter was addressed to the inspector at the Babcock & Wilcox Co., under date of January 25, 1916; to the Maryland Steel Co., January 29, 1916; to 21 other ship and engine establishments on February 4, 1916; to 10 others on February 8, 1916; and to three others on March 7, 1916.

February 5, 1916.—The inspectors of engineering material were directed to ascertain the usual output and also the emergency capacity of manufacturing establishments in their districts for the manufacture of 20 different articles of equipment, which were enumerated by the Bureau.

The third report was dated March 31, 1916, and followed the general line of the preceding one. It gave an estimate of the cost to equip the machinery divisions of navy yards for building battleships, and noted the addition of certain large tools at Mare Island Navy Yard costing $133,000. It gave details of the building and repair facilities of 45 private yards and the principal details of 66 merchant ships then under construction, besides information from 80 manufacturing establishments for the supply of engineering material; a summary was given of the recommendations made in the case of 38 ships which had been inspected by the Board of Inspection and Survey.

Special attention was invited to the difficulty in obtaining material, and the Bureau’s recommendation previously made that authority be obtained from Congress to place an embargo on the export of certain material was quoted. Note was made of the increased cost of material.

A suggestion was made for the employment of store ships as distinguished from supply ships, and a list given of engineering supplies which should be carried by supply ships. A list was also given of the personnel of the offices of inspectors of machinery and inspectors of engineering material recommended as “war personnel.”

Under date of April 19, 1916, a memorandum was addressed to the Assistant Secretary of the Navy, giving the organization of the material branch of the radio service, which is under the direction of


the Bureau of Steam Engineering, in which it was stated that there existed in the Bureau a list of the material which various manufacturers were capable of furnishing promptly in the event of war, and also what they could do in a specified time. The Department was also advised that the active cooperation of the Marconi company had been secured for installation of radio apparatus.

The fourth report was dated June 30, 1916, and contained estimates for equipping submarine bases. Information similar to that contained in preceding reports was given on 2 shipbuilding and repair establishments and 14 manufacturing plants. A list was given of 43 merchant ships for which new equipment necessary to be installed was given. This report also contained a summary of what had been done during the year and noted that detailed plans had been submitted to the Department for the expansion of the facilities of navy yards; that reports had been made on 71 shipbuilding and repair plants; and that the inspection reports of merchant ships numbered 112. Difficulty in securing material was emphasized, and the organization of the inspection service submitted.

The fifth report was dated September 30, 1916, and contained details of 2 shipbuilding and repair plants and of 6 engineering supply establishments. It recommended that a reserve stock of important engineering material be kept on hand, and that estimates be submitted to Congress for the purchase of it. A list of material required to equip merchant ships was given, amounting to $495,000. It was noted that the Department approved the Bureau’s recommendation regarding the civilian personnel in inspection offices.

The sixth report was dated December 31, 1916, and contained further details of shipbuilding and repair plants of 15 additional establishments for the supply of engineering material. It gave a list of engineering material that should be provided, amounting to $2,262,500.

The seventh report, dated March 31, 1917, noted the allotment of $267,000 under this Bureau from the appropriation of $18,000,000 for the improvement of navy yards, and stated that additional allotments of $2,744,000 were required. It gave a summary of material required to meet war requirements, to cost $19,115,000. Recommendations were made for the conversion of 28 merchant ships and 35 patrol boats.


The Act of August 29, 1916, provided for the largest building program that was ever authorized by any Congress. It included 10 first-class battleships, 6 battle cruisers, 10 scout cruisers, 50 destroyers. 9 fleet submarines, 58 coast submarines, 1 special submarine, 3 fuel


ships, 1 repair ship, 1 transport, 1 hospital ship, 2 destroyer tenders, 1 fleet submarine tender, 2 ammunition ships, 2 gunboats, the construction of 66 of which was directed to be commenced as soon as practicable.

The design of machinery for these latter was well under way when war was declared; that for the 4 battleships had been completed and contracts awarded, but the design for the 4 battle cruisers was not far advanced. Decision had, however, been reached to install electric motor driven machinery in all the capital ships; and as the decision in the case of the battle cruisers was the subject of much comment, it would seem that this is a proper place to give a short history of the Navy’s adoption of this type of machinery for its capital ships.


In 1909, Mr. W. R. L. Emmet, the consulting engineer of the General Electric Co., represented to the Navy Department the great advantage which would be derived by equipping one of our old battleships with electrically operated machinery, and submitted a tentative proposition for such an equipment. As the number of our battleships at that time, even including the old one under consideration, was too small to admit of assigning one to purely experimental work, the Navy Department declined to enter into the scheme proposed, which was substantially that the Government should buy the machinery and experiment with it. The Navy Department and the Bureau of Steam Engineering were, however, rather favorably impressed with the general idea contained in the proposition, and a year or two later, under the administration of my predecessor, Rear Admiral (now captain) Hutch I. Cone, when the machinery of two colliers was under consideration, it was decided to equip one of them with electric drive and the other with turbine reduction gear, which had been strongly recommended by Rear Admiral Melville, formerly Engineer in Chief of the Navy.

The collier Jupiter was the one designated to be equipped with electric drive. Her machinery was of about 7,000 horsepower, transmitted through two shafts; but, so far as the electric generator was concerned, she was in fact no better than a single-screw ship, because her entire power was concentrated in one generator. The machinery was built by the General Electric Co. and installed on a “no-cure, no-pay” basis—i. e., the General Electric Co. agreed to remove the electric machinery if it did not prove satisfactory on trial and in service for a limited period; and so carefully was this provision kept in mind that the propeller shafting and the steam piping, which were installed by the Government, were so arranged


that no change would be necessary in them in case it should have been necessary to remove the electric machinery and install reciprocating engines.

The Jupiter has now been in service more than seven years, and has never been inactive one day on account of her electric machinery. So much importance did the Navy Department attach to this installation that she was officered and manned by a naval instead of by a merchant crew, and was brought from the Pacific to the Atlantic in order that the most reliable information might be obtained in regard to the working of this machinery. So great was the interest of the Bureau of Steam Engineering in the success of this first installation that the chief of the bureau consented to the temporary detail of the assistant to the bureau, Capt. S. S. Robison, to command her in order that upon his return to the Bureau first-hand information might be available in a consideration of questions that might arise regarding this or future installations. For the same reason, Commander U. T. Holmes, at the time in charge of the Division of Design, was detailed as a member of the board to witness the final trials of the ship.

In this way the Navy Department had accumulated a mass of valuable information regarding the operation of electric machinery; and so satisfactorily had this first installation on the Jupiter proved that the Department, in 1914, decided that the information then available was sufficient to justify the installation of electric machinery in the battleship New Mexico (formerly California) building at the New York Navy Yard. Subsequent experience with the Jupiter confirmed the earlier impressions, and the decision of the Navy Department to continue such installations was the best kind of evidence that no difficulty had been experienced with her installation.

When it came to the design of the battle cruisers, for which the speed and power contemplated were far in excess of the speed and power of any ship afloat, the question as to the kind of machinery which should be installed was naturally one of the greatest concern. Information which had been received from abroad had shown the paramount necessity of giving under-water protection to ships such as had never been contemplated before. Fortunately, electrically operated machinery lent itself admirably to the conditions imposed by protection, besides which it also possessed other military advantages. It was therefore decided that electric machinery was the only type that could be installed and make these ships what it was desired they should be, and it may be safely said that the protection provided in their design is the greatest that human ingenuity' could devise without encroaching upon the space for the installation of machinery.


For similar reasons, the same type of machinery was included in the design for the four battleships that were carried in the act of August 29, 1916, and of the six authorized in the acts of March 3, 1917, and July 1, 1919. When bids were received for the four of the 1916 act, it was clear that the shipbuilders were unwilling to give •the usual guaranties regarding the satisfactory operation of the machinery, but so confident was the Department of the great advantage to be secured by the use of electrical machinery that, after conference between the shipbuilders and the electrical firms, it was decided to make a change in the usual form of contract, whereby the Navy Department relieved the shipbuilder of responsibility for the machinery subsequent to a successful dock trial, and entered into a contract with the electric companies covering responsibility and performance during the usual contract period.

While these preliminaries were under discussion, and after the bids for the battle cruisers had been received, the inventor of the Curtis turbine sent the Secretary of the Navy a long telegram representing to him that a great mistake would be made if electric machinery were put in the battleships; that Great Britain was using-geared turbine machinery, and that a commission should be appointed to investigate the whole subject before final decision was reached. This was followed by a letter amplifying his telegram, and later by another letter addressed to the President of the United States covering practically the same ground. Mr. Curtis also put in print substantially the same arguments that he advanced in his letter to the Secretary of the Navy.

The identical arguments used by Mr. Curtis were advanced by a prominent manufacturer of electrical apparatus who interviewed the Secretary of the Navy on the subject, and who later approached other officers of the Department and the chairman of the Naval Committees of Congress. Appeals were made to engineers of prominence to urge the Department to adopt mechanical reduction gear or at least to refer the question to a board of “impartial expert” engineers for decision as to the type of machinery to be used. Just where such a board could be found was not stated, and as the Navy Department was of opinion that the most expert electrical engineers were in the employ of the two big electrical companies to whom the construction of the machinery must necessarily be intrusted, it could hardly be held that representatives from those firms, however "expert” they might be, could be classed as “impartial.” For the same reason, those who were behind the propaganda to compel the installation of mechanical reduction in these ships could not be put in this category. Obviously, the question was one for the Secretary of the Navy to decide, and the attitude of the Department is well expressed


in Secretary Daniels's letter of March 26, 1917, to a prominent mechanical engineer who had yielded to importunities to address the Navy Department on the subject. The letter follows:

Sir: Receipt is acknowledged of your letter of March 21, in regard to the use of electric drive in our battle cruisers, from which I note that you do not consider that you are in a position either to commend or condemn the type of machinery that has been adopted.

For the past live months an industrious propaganda has been waged, by parties interested in mechanical reduction gear to have that type of machinery substituted for the electric drive, and it is a noteworthy fact that during that time only seven people other than you have yielded to the importunity of the propagandists to write to the Navy Department in protest of its action. Of those who have written, one was a chemist, one an editor, two electrical engineers, one a college professor, one a mechanical engineer, and one whose name can not be found in the list of members of the mechanical or electrical engineers, and who seems to he unknown to prominent engineers— not one “eminent” engineer among them. I make this statement because of your prominence as an engineer, and in order that you may know how slow the engineers of the country have been to yield to the clamor of people who see fat royalties escaping them with the use of electric drive.

It is clear from your letter that yon have not been fully informed in the matter, and in order that you may have better information than you now possess, I will say that the Navy Department has a number of competent engineers in its employ, that their method of approaching an untried scheme is the same as yours, and that it was followed to the letter in this case. In addition to this, we have the benefit and advice of the best engineering talent and experience of the large shipbuilding establishments and of the large electric companies, and the fact that every shipbuilding company that bid made a proposal for electric drive, and only one a proposal for geared as well as electric drive, would seem to be abundant evidence that they have no doubt of the satisfactory operation of the latter. Even Mr. ----------, whom you quote (and whose experience in large undertakings I feel sure you would not substitute for that of the engineers of the large electric companies), when asked by me if he had any doubt of the satisfactory working of the electric machinery, answered that he had not.

I have given this full consideration to your letter because it so happens that you are the only mechanical engineer of prominence who has written me in regard to it, and also because I want you and the American people generally to know that I and the officers of the Navy concerned in the design of these ships are just as anxious that they shall be a success as you or anybody else, and probably more so than some of the interested people behind this propaganda. We feel confident that the ships will be a pronounced success, and that they will confound the very people who would deny to us the great advantage that will come from the experimental work that we have conducted during the last three years. They will have electric drive.

Very respectfully,

Josephus Daniels,
Secretary of the Navy.

A member of the Naval Consulting Board suggested to the chief of bureau that the matter be referred to that board for an opinion as to whether electric drive was suitable for installation in these


ships, but it was pointed out to him that nearly all the electrical engineers on the board were in the employ of one or the other of the two big companies who would be called upon to build the machinery, and that an opinion from the board in such a case would be open to the criticism that it was not unbiased. He was also informed that the Navy Department was satisfied, and that the only people who were not satisfied were those who were interested in the adoption of another type of machinery, and that as they were not in any manner responsible for the success of the ships as a military unit, the decision might well be left with those upon whom responsibility rested.

The type of machinery adopted is the only one that could be installed in the space available, and the only one that could give the protection which is considered a necessary feature of the design of the ship.

It should be remembered that when this decision was reached we had only the experience of one installation in a collier, but since then the New Mexico has been completed, and every report from her shows how superior her electric drive is to that of any other arrangement of turbine equipment that could have been devised.

The technical side of the question in its application to naval ships is of such interest and importance as to justify a brief recital. It is clearly recognized that in order to obtain economy in a turbine it must be operated at high rotational speed, and that to obtain the greatest efficiency from a propeller it should run at low speed. In order, therefore, to secure the most efficient combination in intermediate reducing mechanism must be introduced between the turbine and the propeller. Those that admit of application are either mechanical, electrical, or hydraulic, but there are so many objections to the latter that it may be dismissed from consideration.

With mechanical reduction gear for the large installations, such as those of battleships, the high-pressure and low-pressure turbines for each screw are arranged in series and mounted on separate shafts, each shaft carrying a pinion that engages a single reducing gear of large diameter keyed to the propeller shaft. Each low-pressure turbine shaft carries also an astern or backing turbine. The principal objection to this arrangement is the necessity for the backing turbine, which gives at best only about 40 per cent of full power, as considerations of weight and space forbid the use of a backing turbine of the same power as the ahead turbine. The result is a short turbine operating at low economy.

Consider now the electric combination, where the turbine is, as before, the primary source of power, but wherein instead of operating a screw propeller it operates an electric generator. The electric power thus developed is transmitted to motors attached to the pro-


peller shafts, and the motors operated to turn the propellers ahead or astern. In other words, there is a central power plant for generating current, and this current is transmitted to the point of application of the power. There is no backing turbine, the reversal being accomplished with ease and certainty through the motors, and with this great advantage over the mechanical reduction—full power is always available.

In large installations it is possible to distribute the power amongst several units in such manner as to secure high economy at both full and cruising speeds.

The advantage which electric reduction gives over other types may be summed up in these:

Greater flexibility and control in the use of power.

Improved economy in every-day service and good economy at full speed.

Less liability to serious derangement.

Less likelihood of speed of ship being seriously affected in the event that turbines are injured.

Military superiority that comes from greater maneuvering power.

Military superiority due to improved underwater protection.

This extended statement is given because of the importance of the subject and because the design of machinery for these battleships and battle cruisers, authorized to meet war emergencies, represented a power equipment of no less than 1,560,000 horsepower, the battle cruisers alone accounting for 1,080,000 horsepower.

While activities of the Design Division were concerned chiefly with other types of ships, work on the battle cruiser design was carried on as opportunity offered, but no work was done on the ships themselves.

Work was prosecuted on the battleships Mississippi and Idaho, building by contract, and on the Tennessee and California, building at the navy yards, New York and Mare Island, respectively. The Mississippi was delivered December 18, 1917, but the Idaho was not completed until some time after the signing of the armistice.

The officers of the Design Division were:

In charge of division Rear Admiral C. W. Dyson, U. S. Navy:

Computing section: Rear Admiral F. H. Bailey, U. S. Navy, retired.

Surface vessels except destroyers: Commander J. O. Richardson. U . S. Navy2; Commander S. M. Robinson, U. S. Navy; Lieut. Commander W. C. Owen, U. S. Navy; Lieut, (j. g.) T. M. Brodie, U. S. Naval Reserve Force.

Destroyers: Lieut. Commander A. T. Church. U. S. Navy3; Lieut. Commander F. W. Sterling. F. S. Navy, retired. Succeeded by Com-


mander N. H. Wright, U. S. Navy; Ensign P. L. Emerson, U. S. Naval Reserve Force.

Internal combustion engines: Commander J. O. Fisher, U. S. Navy; Lieut, (j. g.) G. S. Diehl, U. S. Naval Reserve Force; Lieut, (j. g.) R. P. Sanborn, U. S. Naval Reserve Force.

Contracts: Lieut. Commander F. W. Sterling, U. S. Navy, retired.


That a design of machinery which is desirable in one type of ship may not be suited to the conditions that must be met in a different type is exemplified by the fact that the design for the scout cruisers, the contracts for six of which were let in July and August, 1917, is mechanical reduction gear and not electric reduction. Although the horsepower of these ships is 90,000, the conditions of design and the limitations of space necessary to permit of all the military features to be embodied in the design made it impossible to install anything but a mechanically geared turbine. The conditions were, in fact, almost identical with those met in destroyers.

Although the contracts were awarded a few months after the declaration of war, the urgent necessity for building destroyers and patrol vessels made it impossible to do any work of consequence on the machinery of these vessels until after the signing of the armistice.


Immediately upon the entry of the United States into the war it was determined to concentrate construction upon such types as were most necessary, taking into consideration the time required to construct such vessels. The reports from our representative at the seat of war emphasized in the strongest terms possible the urgent need of destroyers and generally of small craft that might be utilized in combating the submarine. It was, therefore, early determined that this emergency construction should consist of:


Submarine chasers,

Small destroyers (eagles),

Cargo vessels,


Conversion of troop ships,

Conversion of repair ships,

Mine sweepers,

Seagoing tugs,

Harbor tugs,

and that the precedence should be as given above.


2 Until June 26, 1917.

3 Until June 1, 1917.


In order that there might be the maximum possible production, the following principles of action were formulated :

1. The adoption of standard design covering general features of construction.

2. The adoption of the smallest practicable number of detail designs of propelling machinery and auxiliaries, taking into consideration expansion of existing facilities.

3. Study of materials of construction to determine where substitution of material could be made with the least possible sacrifice of efficiency.

The act of August 20, 1916, authorized the immediate construction of 20 destroyers, the design of which had been well advanced at that date. The speed contemplated was 35 knots. This was an increase of 5 knots over that of preceding destroyers and involved the solution of many difficult problems before the design was finally determined upon.

The contracts for these 20 vessels were let in November and December, 1917, and were quickly followed by additional orders as fast as building facilities permitted, until a total of 270 were under order whose construction was authorized subsequent to August 29, 1916, and prior to October 10, 1917. Of this number the order for 120 had been given prior to the act of October 6, 1917.

As additional orders were placed from time to time, propositions were made to build 30-knot and also 28-knot destroyers, all with a view to increasing production; but as the design of those under construction was well standardized this Bureau insisted upon adhering to the 35-knot boat as involving the least element of delay. When, however, in July, 1917, the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation submitted a tentative proposition for the construction of 150, serious consideration was given to the adoption of a 28-knot boat, as Admiral Sims had reported that any speed in excess of 25-knots would be satisfactory. The 28-knot speed was considered from the fact that the destroyers under contract could make that speed with two boilers instead of four. After closer investigation, however, it was found that the construction of boilers was not the time-controlling factor, and in general consideration of the subject several conferences were held with shipbuilders and manufacturers of forgings, boilers, machinery, and equipment, at which all phases of the problem were discussed.

As a result of these conferences it was determined that the most difficult situation to be faced was the one of forgings for shafting. For 28-knots solid forgings could be used and forging facilities utilized which would not be available if hollow forgings were insisted upon. There were only two large forging establishments


that could handle all the material that would be needed tor 35-knot vessels, and a third that could make only the shaft forgings; but the two firms with facilities for making all the forgings were not keen to undertake their manufacture. Both had large munition orders and preferred to continue that class of work. In fact great difficulty had been experienced in getting one of the companies to supply the forgings for which they had contract, for the destroyers building at Cramps and at the New York Shipbuilding Co., and it required some decisive action on the part of the chairman of the War Industries Board before the prompt completion of these contracts was assured. As it was contemplated to build the 150 destroyers in 18 months, it was clear that additional forging facilities would have to be provided to carry out this program.

The proposition submitted by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation contemplated the erection of a turbine building shop at Buffalo, a boiler shop at Providence, and extensions of the works of other firms closely affiliated with the successful completion of this unprecedented undertaking. It was apparent that Bethlehem could not handle the entire number of vessels, and equally so that, if completed at all, the work would have to be done by those firms that were then building destroyers, and whose organization and experience were such as to justify confidence in the successful completion and operation of the vessels assigned them. But every one of these establishments was working to full capacity, and some of them were subletting important portions of the machinery which ordinarily are completed in their own shops. In some cases, these subcontracts were given to people who were unfamiliar with the class of work they had undertaken, and this resulted in a reduced output from the scheduled requirement. No assistance could be expected from other shipbuilders of experience, as they were fully occupied with merchant work and with mine sweepers.

After full consideration of all the difficulties that had to be overcome, the Department decided to ask authority of Congress to build 150 additional destroyers. This authority was granted in the act of October 6, 1916, and the distribution was made as follows:

85 to Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation, of which 45 were to be built at Quincy and Squantum, Mass., and 40 at the Union Iron Works, San Francisco, Calif.

25 to the William Cramp & Sons Ship and Engine Building Co.

20 to the Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co., Newport News, Va.

20 to the New York Shipbuilding Corporation, Camden, N. J.

Later on six more destroyers were assigned to the Mare Island Navy Yard and three to the Norfolk Yard. Six had previously



been assigned to Mare Island and one to Charleston. The first consideration in the design of the machinery was reliability coupled with speedy construction, and next to that was simplification of design in order to meet the condition that was fast confronting us of a very much lower standard of efficiency in both commissioned and the enlisted personnel. The destroyer force, as it existed in April, 1917, had most efficient personnel, and the encomium heaped upon their performance bore ample testimony to this happy condition. As additional destroyers were built, the majority of the crews had, of necessity, to be made up of inexperienced men. and everything that was possible was done to make the machinery installation simple and easy of operation.

Standardization, where possible, was insisted upon and successfully accomplished with propellers, propeller shafts, turbine units, pumps, blowers, safety valves, evaporators and distillers, ice machines, electric generators, searchlights, and even in smaller details. Much credit is due the shipbuilders, who set aside many of their own standards in order to cooperate fully with the Bureau in reducing the number of types to a minimum.

The 45 destroyers assigned to be built at Fore River and at Squantum—which latter place, in the language of the architect of the buildings, existed originally only as “a good marsh”—were to be duplicates of other destroyers building by Bethlehem. The engines for some were to be constructed at Fore River, but the majority were assigned to the new shop at Buffalo, the erection of which proceeded under great difficulty on account of the unprecedentedly cold winter of 1917-18. So far as concerned machinery, Squantum was simply an assembly plant. The castings for the turbine casings were made at other points and shipped to Buffalo. About two-thirds of the boilers for the entire lot were built in the new shop at Providence, which was specially equipped for the manufacture of Yarrow boilers, and the remainder at Quincy.

In the case of the Union Iron Works destroyers, a new shop had been erected at Alameda in order to facilitate the construction of the destroyers already under contract, and it was hoped that this shop would also be able to handle the machinery of the 40 additional destroyers, but it soon became apparent that this source of supply could not be depended upon. Fortunately, the General Electric Co. had just completed at Erie, Pa., the erection of a building which would admirably serve the purpose of a turbine shop, and a contract was accordingly entered into with them for equipping the shop and for building the turbines for the entire lot of 40 destroyers. It is of interest to note that the order for this work was given 10 days before Congress authorized the construction of these vessels.


In order to make possible the construction of the boilers at San Francisco, it was necessary to rent for this purpose the old Risdon Iron Works, and to equip and incorporate it as a part of the Union Iron Works. All the boilers were of the Yarrow type.

The turbines for the Cramp destroyers were built by that company, and this construction was made possible only by the purchase on account of the Navy Department of the stock of the De La Vergne Machinery Co., of New York City, and of the transfer of the operation of the works to the Cramp company. For the turbines for the Newport News and the New York Shipbuilding Corporation destroyers, a contract was entered into with the Westinghouse Machinery Corporation, which sublet a large portion of the work to the Allis-Chalmers Co. Thus were enlisted the combined facilities of those two big engineering establishments in the production of these engines. The Newport News Co. had, in the case of previous destroyers, found it necessary to place contracts for important portions of the turbines with firms in the Middle West, but the results that had attended the production of this work had not been of such a character as to justify an extension of these contracts, and for that reason the last 20 destroyers built by this firm, as well as those built by the New York Shipbuilding Corporation, have turbines differing from those of preceding ones.

The Bath Iron Works was not assigned any of the last 150 destroyers, as they were fully occupied with the orders in hand at the time the new destroyers were authorized.

Boilers.—The boilers for the Cramp company, as also those for the Newport News company and the New York Shipbuilding Corporation, which were of the White Forster type, were built by the Babcock & Wilcox Co., Bayonne, N. J., whose works had to be greatly enlarged to meet the schedule of 20 boilers a month, which output was finally improved to such a degree that the production of a boiler a day was reached. This was accomplished only after overcoming many difficulties, and even necessitated the manufacture in their own works of certain machine tools which could be obtained by purchase only after a delay too great to be considered in the execution of the contract. It also necessitated the calling into service of a portion of the facilities of their works at Barberton, Ohio.

Pumps.—When it came to a consideration of the pumps required for so many vessels, it was found that all manufacturers were working to capacity on existing orders for the Navy Department and for the Shipping Board, and that the only way in which it would be possible to secure this equipment in tune would be either to create new facilities or to enlarge existing plants. After a thorough survey of the situation, it was decided that the Blake & Knowles Works of the Worthington Pump Co. offered the best source of supply. These


Westinghouse turbine; low pressure.
Westinghouse turbine; low pressure.
Westinghouse reduction gear.
Westinghouse reduction gear.

works, in East Cambridge, Mass., were accordingly almost entirely remodeled and the order for all the pumps placed with that firm.

Reduction gear.—There is probably no other part of the machinery equipment that gave cause for greater concern during the construction of the entire destroyer program than did the reduction gears. So serious was the situation in this regard considered that immediately after the declaration of war our naval attache in London was directed to make inquiry regarding the possibility of securing these gears in Great Britain. The reply was so unsatisfactory, involving the shipment of forgings from this country with consequent risk of loss of the rough material or of the finished gears during transport through the war zone, that the Bureau decided that the best results would be secured by obtaining abroad plans of the Parsons gear bobbing machine and building the machines in this country. The William Sellers Co., of Philadelphia, volunteered to undertake the work, but before the negotiations were concluded it was found possible, through the good offices of the British Commission, headed by Admiral de Chair, and the efforts of Admiral Sims, to secure entire machines in Great Britain. Even with these machines in prospect the time of delivery was so uncertain as to make necessary an enlargement of the works of the Falk Co., at Milwaukee, for cutting the gears of the destroyers allotted to the Fore River branch of the Bethlehem Corporation. At one time it was also contemplated to make a similar enlargement of the De Laval Steam Turbine Co.’s works at Trenton, N. J., where gears were cut for all the Cramp destroyers and for the first 10 assigned the New York Shipbuilding Corporation, but it was ultimate found possible to meet the required dates by slight additions to and modifications of existing equipment, and the plans for extension were therefore abandoned. The General Electric Co. and the Westinghouse company each cut the gears for the turbines which they manufactured, as did also Mare Island for the turbines built at that yard. For the earlier destroyers at Newport News, direct-driven turbines with cruising turbines were designed in order to lessen the demand for reduction gear, even though it involved a slight decrease in maximum speed.

Forced-draft fans.—Neither of the principal suppliers of fans could, with existing equipment, handle anything like the entire order, but it was found that by making slight additions and extensions to the works of the Sturtevant Co., at Hyde Park, Mass., this firm could supply fans for 105 destroyers, and that those for the remaining 45 could be furnished by the Terry Steam Turbine Co., of Hartford, Conn.

Evaporators and distillers.—The order for the entire outfit was placed with the Griscom-Russell Co., whose plant at Massillon, Ohio,


had to be greatly enlarged to handle this work as well as the great volume intrusted to them for the account of the Shipping Board.

Propellers.—All propellers were manufactured by the William Cramp & Sons Ship and Engine Building Co., whose foundry was enlarged for their construction.

Boiler and condenser tubes.—For more than a year before we entered the war boiler tubes could be obtained only with difficulty. In fact, there was only one firm on which the Department could rely to meet current demands. The situation at one time became so acute that serious consideration was given to the advisability of requesting the President to place an embargo on the exportation of tubes. After war was declared, however, other firms were brought into line and a schedule established for delivery based on the capacity of each mill, so that a supply was assured for the earlier destroyers. This schedule was continued in effect for the new program, and little or no delay was experienced. To accomplish this and at the same time meet the large demands of the Army and of the Allies, it became necessary for several of the larger mills to practically double their capacity.

A similar situation existed in regard to condenser tubes, but there was never that difficulty in obtaining them that prevailed with boiler tubes.

Forgings.—Because of the conditions previously mentioned, it was clear that the lot of 150 destroyers could not be built unless an enormous increase was made in the forging facilities of the country. There were many firms that could make solid forgings, and a few, besides the large ones referred to, who could make the smaller of the hollow forgings, but these few were so tied up with ordnance contracts for both the Army and the Navy that no assistance from them was to be thought of. Accordingly the Department entered into contract with the Erie Forge Co. for the construction and equipment of an entirely new plant adjacent to their existing plant at Erie, Pa., and of capacity sufficient for handling the largest forgings for destroyers and also to manufacture gun forgings for the Bureau of Ordnance. This work was completed in the face of the most exasperating difficulties caused by weather, labor conditions, and delay in obtaining tool equipment, but the part it played in the construction of destroyers amply justified its erection.

Lesser extensions of a similar character were made at the forge plant of the Allis-Chalmers Co., Milwaukee, at the Poliak Steel Co., Cincinnati, and at the Camden Forge Co., Camden, N. J., each of which did its part in supplying forgings for this big undertaking.

Miscellaneous.—All the safety valves were manufactured by the Consolidated Safety Valve Co., and a large number of the gate valves



by the Edward Valve Co., Chicago, Ill. Another firm in the Middle West, the Wellman-Seaver-Morgan Co., contributed to the manufacture of condensers and a great deal of sheet-metal work.

The electric generators, 25-kilowatt, were supplied by the General Electric Co. and the Westinghouse company, and the 24-inch high-power searchlights by the General Electric Co. Loud speaking telephones of the Cory, Collophone, or Stentor type were installed in all these vessels.

The refrigerating apparatus was the product of the Clothel Co. and of the Johns-Manville Co.

In what has preceded, mention has been made of some of the firms that contributed to the completion of the major portions of the work on the destroyers. To mention all would be to mention many of the large as well as a large number of the small manufacturers of this country. The machine-tool manufacturers played a very important part, for the order for the last 150 destroyers came at a time when these establishments were working to capacity on war orders, and when the placing of an order with priority of delivery meant the displacing of another for war work, and the consequent interruption of orderly procedure in the shops. Under the circumstances, it was but natural that conflict should arise regarding priority, but such cases were always decided by the Priorities Committee of the War Industries Board, upon which the Navy was represented by Rear Admirals N. E. Mason and A. V. Zane, and harmonious relations were preserved, though somebody was always disappointed.

To Mr. S. W. Vauclain, the chairman of the War Industries Board, is due special mention for the vigorous manner in which he handled every important question that was brought to his attention, and especially for his untiring efforts in overcoming difficulties at some of the forging plants and in meeting what at one time threatened to be a serious situation in the production of boring lathes necessary in the manufacture of shafting.

Production.—Forty-one destroyers were delivered between April 6, 1917, and November 11, 1918, of which the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation delivered 20, 16 from Fore River, and 4 from the Union Iron Works. Cramp delivered 8, Bath Iron Works 5, Newport News 4, and Mare Island 4. At the time of the armistice, the destroyer production program was in full swing, and had the war lasted, the next three months would have witnessed their completion at the rate of at least 10 a month; but as soon as the armistice was signed working hours were reduced and every endeavor made to return to normal conditions. An idea of the rate of production that had been reached may be inferred from the fact that 7 destroyers were delivered during the 19 days in November, 1918, that followed the signing of the armistice. In the number was the


Delphy, the first destroyer built at Squantum, which was delivered in a little more than 13 months from the time work was begun on constructing the shipyard where she was built, a record of which any firm might well be proud.

While all the shipbuilders that delivered destroyers worked with a will and cooperated to the fullest in the production of these terrors of the submarine, it is felt that on account of the magnitude of the work undertaken by the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation, in supervising the construction and operation of the special plants and in the extension of their own plants, that firm is entitled to special mention, and that to Mr. J. W. Powell, the vice president, is due the credit for these undertakings.

This sketch of what was an unprecedented undertaking and performance would not be complete without mention of the names of the naval inspectors of machinery and of the chief engineers of the shipbuilding firms, as also those of the inspectors in the districts where material was fabricated. They follow:

Bath Iron Works: Inspector, Commander E. H. De Lany, U. S. Navy, retired; vice president and superintending engineer, Mr. C. P. Wetherbee.

Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation: Inspectors, Rear Admiral George W. McElroy, U. S. Navy, at Quincy, Squantum, and Providence; Commander H. G. Leopold, U. S. Navy, retired, at Union Iron Works; Lieut. Commander E. C. Oak, U. S. Naval Reserve Force, at Buffalo. Chief engineer, Mr. Robert Warriner.

Wm. Cramp & Sons Ship & Engine Building Co.: Inspectors, Rear Admiral R. T. Hall, U. S. Navy at Philadelphia; Lieut. Commander W. B. Tardy, U. S. Navy at New York. Chief engineer, Mr. John F. Mettin.

New York Shipbuilding Corporation: Inspector, Capt. Gustav Kaemmerling, U. S. Navy. Chief engineer, Mr. Philip Young.

Newport News Shipbuilding & Dry Dock Co.: Inspector, Capt. Kenneth McAlpin, U. S. Navy. Engineering director, Mr. Charles F. Bailey.

Mare Island Navy Yard: Engineer officer, Capt. C. N. Offley, U. S. Navy.

Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Co.: Lieut. Commander C. A. Jones, U. S. Navy.

General Electric Co.: Inspectors, Commodore John T. Newton, U. S. Navy, retired, at Schenectady, N. Y.; Commander Goold H. Bull, U. S. Naval Reserve Force, at Erie, Pa.

Allis-Chalmers Co., The Falk Co.: Inspector, Commander J. H. Rowen. U. S. Navy, retired.

Babcock & Wilcox Co.: Inspector, Rear Admiral A. B. Willits, U. S. Navy, retired.


The general inspector of machinery during this period was Rear Admiral W. M. Parks, U. S. Navy.


Consideration had been given to the construction of patrol boats some time before our entry into the war, and as the design developed and inventory was taken of the building facilities and the demands that would be made on them for the production of other types of ships, it was decided that the adoption of gasoline engines would be most satisfactory for this type of boat as well as from the operating point of view. It was realized that the use of a gas-engine installation meant a large number of spare parts and replacements, and that in order to simplify supply and to avoid delay and confusion when repairs were needed there should be but one type of engine for all the boats.

The power required for the minimum permissible speed of these boats was 600 horsepower, and it was specially desirable that this power should be divided between two units. Here arose a serious question; there were no dependable gas engines of 300 horsepower on the market that could be put in quantity production and meet the dates of readiness contemplated for the hulls, which were to be constructed by builders of wooden boats. Many enthusiastic would-be contractors appeared ready to guarantee efficiency of engines of 300 and even of 400 horsepower, but when brief investigations were made it was found that their engine was either a mere idea, or that, at best, it existed on paper. Some of these enthusiasts were eager for the Bureau to embark upon a gigantic scheme of developing an engine in accordance with their ideas, and it was with difficulty that they were made to understand that there was no time either for development or experiment, that what was wanted was an engine in being and one which had demonstrated its efficiency and reliability. This they were, of course, unable to produce.

The Bureau of Steam Engineering early in March, 1917, invited those builders of engines whose product was well known, and whose facilities for construction might be readily expanded, to send representatives to confer regarding the machinery equipment, and after careful consideration of all the features involved in the design, construction, and rapid production, decided to adopt the "Standard" engine of 220 horsepower. This meant the installation of three engines instead of two, with all the disadvantages attendant upon the multiplication of units. However, the advantages to be realized seemed so greatly to outweigh this one disadvantage that no hesitation was to be thought of. The engines had been well tried over several years of service and had also given satisfactory performance


in the British 80-foot patrol boats, of which 550 had been built. The manufacturers were just completing the last British and a small Italian order; their shops and those of others upon whom they relied for important parts were equipped for quantity production; and they could proceed immediately with our work. Accordingly, contract was entered into April 2, 1917, with the Standard Motor Construction Co. for the construction of 150 sets of machinery, each set consisting of three engines and an auxiliary engine. This was soon followed by other orders until the total number of engines under contract rose to more than 1,400.

The engine is 6-cylinder, 4-cycle, air starting and reversing, with cylinders 10 inches diameter and 11 inches stroke, provided with an air compressor mounted on its after end whose piston is actuated by an eccentric on the engine shaft. The design contemplated the development of 220 horsepower with 350 revolutions of the engine.

The auxiliary engine, which is a very important part of the equipment, operates a fire and bilge pump, a circulating pump, a gasoline pump, an electric generator, and an emergency air compressor. It is a 2-cylinder engine, with cylinders 4 1/2 inches diameter and 5 1/2 inches stroke.

The propellers were designed by the Bureau of Steam Engineering and built by the Columbia Bronze Corporation and the American Manganese Bronze Corporation.

In preparing the general arrangement of machinery, it was thought that as these boats were to operate in the war zone heating apparatus might be dispensed with, as every pound added to the equipment would seriously affect the speed, which was none too high; but as many of them were retained on the Atlantic coast, it required only a short experience of winter conditions to show the necessity for heating them. As quickly as it could be obtained a hot-water heating system was installed in those in service and also in those whose construction had not been completed.

When the order originally placed was more than doubled, the contractors found it necessary to sublet more of the work with other firms than was at first contemplated. In the completion of these engines and in the endeavor to reach the expected production of 10 sets a week, much of the important work was done by the Lyons-Atlas Co., Indianapolis, Ind. The final assembly was, however, made by the Standard company, and the tests conducted at their works. These tests were for economy as well as power, and were of three hours’ duration. Besides this, 1 set of engines in 20 was subjected to a continuous nonstop test of 24 hours’ duration. By this procedure it was felt that there could be little question of the reliability of every engine shipped to a building yard.



As work on the chasers progressed, it became apparent that the engines would not be ready as soon as the hulls, and although the contractor gave every assurance that the engines would not be delayed, subcontractors were so dilatory that eventually it became necessary for the Bureau to put its production section behind the orders for material and to insist upon prompt deliveries. This organization, supplemented by the work of the inspectors of engineering material, soon produced the desired results, and thereafter work progressed favorably and engines were supplied as required for installation in the hulls.

An idea of the speed of production may be had from a consideration of the fact that in May, 1917, the first set of three engines was tested; in June, 5 sets; in August, 9 sets; from which time it steadily increased, until in November 55 sets were tested, followed by 53 in December, notwithstanding the fact that the inspector reported many obstacles in the way of quantity production, such as delay in railroad transportation, the holiday season, accident to traveling crane, and delay in truck service on account of bad roads, and concluded with the statement that “the situation is not improving, but getting worse.”

The Bureau of Navigation early established at Columbia University, New York City, a gas-engine school for the instruction of the engine personnel destined for these vessels, and this Bureau cooperated in the work by supplying two complete units for the purpose.

The Hannibal and the Leonidas, which were converted to tenders for these chasers, were fully equipped with machine tools, spare parts, and gas-engine supplies so that any repair or replacement might be undertaken. Minor modifications and improvements were made in the design from time to time, as experience seemed to dictate, but the performance of the machinery in general was very satisfactory, and its maintenance in operating efficiency was facilitated by reason of the fact that there was but one design for the entire flotilla.

The inspector of machinery at the works of the contractors was Rear Admiral William N. Little, U. S. Navy, and the conduct of the work on their part was under the direction of Mr. Eugene A. Riotte, the president of the company.

An idea of the reliability of the machinery of these little vessels may be obtained from a statement of the commanding officer of one of the three that were sent from Lisbon to Archangel, “that for 53 days they operated without repair ships or bases, and covered a distance of 6,950 miles,” a truly remarkable performance for such craft. Regarding the last 5,600 miles he concludes by saying that;


The performance of the boats during this period of running was excellent. They averaged 3,400 miles per month until reaching Christiania, and during the entire period away from England there was not a single breakdown or delay for a chaser. They received no outside assistance for repair or overhaul.

The latter part of this run, when unhampered by the tanker that had accompanied them, and which limited the speed of the chasers, was made at an average speed of 12.9 knots for 370 miles.

Another evidence of the reliability of the machinery was supplied by the experience of 12 that came all the way from Puget Sound to Charleston, S. C., a distance of about 5,600 miles on their own resources, without repair or mother ship, and for the greater part of the voyage without a supply vessel. These boats upon reaching the Atlantic coast reported ready and were immediately assigned to duty with a convoy.

The climax of the war service of the chasers came in a race from Bermuda to New York, participated in by six that had seen service in the Mediterranean, the time of the winner, No. 131, being 56 hours and 56 minutes, which was an excellent performance.

Other features in the engineering equipment of these boats are not less interesting than the main propulsion machinery. When originally projected they were regarded primarily as patrol craft. The defense nature of the antisubmarine warfare had led to the assignment of every available craft of every type able to keep the sea to the work of patrol, and large fleets of motor boats had been constructed by the Allies for this purpose.

By the time the earliest subchasers were approaching completion the development of submarine detection devices and antisubmarine weapons had reached such a stage that the long-sought means for direct and practicable offensive action against submarines appeared to be in sight. The first chasers to be completed were accordingly assigned to experimental work along this line, and progress was so rapid and promising that the mission of the whole class underwent a radical change. As patrol vessels, their mission would have been to provide security in certain limited areas by virtue of their employment in such large numbers that no submarine could come to the surface without subjecting itself to attack, or having the news of its whereabouts immediately broadcasted. As they were finally sent into service they represented units of three boats each, equipped and trained to detect submerged submarines within a wide area, to follow them through all changes of course, gradually closing their distance until, finally, at close quarters an accurate determination of the submarine’s location afforded the opportunity for effective depth-charge attack.

The development of the detection devices was in itself one of the most satisfactory and notable achievements of the war; its story is


told in another place. Possession of these devices would undoubtedly have multiplied the value of the chasers as simple patrol boats, but much more was necessary in order to transform them into real hunting groups. An intricate problem in tactics was involved, and its solution depended upon achieving a speed of communication between boats and a celerity in making certain navigational computations that had never before been approached in any other phase of naval activity. A satisfactory but difficult method of visual signaling for both day and night was finally devised, but it was the successful development by the Western Electric Co. of a suitable wireless telephone that brought about the ideal solution.

It is interesting in this connection to recall that the Navy Department had actively cooperated with the Western Electric Co. in the development of the wireless telephone, and that the question of installing it on board large naval vessels had been discussed by the Navy Department several years previously. The Bureau recommended against the project at that time, in view of the undeveloped nature of existing apparatus and the general conditions affecting radio communication, but suggested the necessity of continuing development work and pointed out that the most important field for its use would probably be found in connection with a concerted attack by destroyers or other small craft in close formation. It was exactly this necessity which brought forth the first satisfactory type of apparatus for naval use, and the chasers were the first naval vessels regularly equipped with this device. These little newcomers into the war zone had scarcely exhibited themselves to their somewhat patronizing colleagues, the destroyers and larger vessels, before the demand for similar equipment poured in upon the Bureau in a flood—from our Allies as well as from our own forces.

It was extremely interesting to note the effect produced upon naval officers of all nationalities when inspecting these craft for the first time. As one feature after another was exhibited and explained—the very complete main-engine equipment with its auxiliaries; the three or four types of detection apparatus; the special signaling lights and other signaling equipment; the radio telegraph for distant communication and the radio telephone for tactical work; the novel armament and navigational devices; and the arrangement for messing, berthing, and heating—it became quickly apparent that these were no ordinary motor launches, but miniature ships, comparable in the intricacy and completeness of their equipment to imposing men-of-war of the line. An expression that was frequently used by English-speaking visitors to sum up their admiration of this novel creation was, “A perfect box of tricks" and its equivalent was heard in several foreign tongues. While admiration was the controlling sentiment, it was often apparent that there


were reservations of judgment with respect to the practicability in service of so elaborate a mechanical equipment. It is the more gratifying to the Bureau, therefore, that the war history of these vessels presents a record of mechanical performance, with respect to every feature under its cognizance, that would have been creditable to a project worked out under the most favorable conditions of peace-time development.


As the war progressed it became apparent that a type of patrol vessel somewhat smaller than the present destroyers and larger than the submarine chasers, but without the speed of the destroyer, would fill an important place in the destruction of enemy submarines. The development of new devices for detecting the presence of submarines and locating their position made it highly desirable that vessels specially adapted to the practical application of these devices be built. As in the case of the submarine chasers, the chief desiderata in connection with them were that they should be of such design as would admit of speedy construction and at places where their construction would not affect the labor engaged in destroyer work. This naturally pointed to the Gulf, the Mississippi River, or the Lakes, and to a firm that possessed a complete executive, engineering, and production organization, and preferably to one accustomed to “repeat” work.

As a preliminary to placing the contract for such vessels, there had been in preparation the design of a vessel in which the following features were emphasized:

(a) The design of a complete installation by the Department.

(b) The adoption of plans such as would permit of quick production by more or less inexperienced shipbuilders.

(c) Use of a type of machinery that would operate with little or no noise.

(d) Means for instantaneously stopping all machinery in order to listen for submarines.

(e) Use of the facilities of the manufacturing plants of the middle west which had been engaged in the production of commercial materials.

(f) Complete supervision of all details of design by the technical Bureaus concerned.

While a design in conformity with this general plan was in course of preparation, the Ford Motor Co., in December, 1917, made a tentative proposition to the Department to build vessels of this general type. The Department acted promptly in the matter and requested the Ford company to send their experts to confer with the bureaus.


The first conference was held December 27, 1917, followed by others on the 28th and 31st, and on January 12, 1918, at which the Ford representatives were given advice regarding the vessel and her machinery and were assured that the bureaus would furnish all information necessary and assist in every way in the preparation of the general and the detail plans. The result was a definite proposition from the Ford company on January 14, 1918, followed by an order from the Department January 17, 191S, for the construction of 100 such vessels, which was later increased to 112 in order to supply 12 to the Italian government.

The design contemplated a vessel 200 feet in length and of 500 tons trial displacement, under which condition the speed desired was 18 knots. To secure this speed, the following special machinery was developed:

An express type water-tube boiler of 1,500 square feet of heating surface, there being two of these for each vessel.

An impulse turbine of 2,500 S. H. P. driving a propeller through the medium of planetary reduction gear having a ratio of 4,000 to 475 revolutions per minute.

Rotary pumps for all purposes where experience had demonstrated that pumps of that type would be satisfactory.

The remainder of the machinery and the electrical equipment would be of the usual type.

Following the award of contract, work on the general and detail plans was prosecuted vigorously, often until late hours of the night, and as soon as they were ready were placed in the hands of the builders.

It should be borne in mind that the Ford Motor Co. had never built a turbine, nor for that matter any kind of floating craft, and the fact that the turbines constructed by them successfully passed every shop and service test is eloquent as to the excellent engineering organization of this company.

The turbines themselves and the reduction gear were from the design of the Poole Engineering Co., Baltimore, Md., which the Bureau had selected as being the combination best suited to the conditions under which these vessels were designed to operate. Having had no experience with turbines, it was but natural that the Ford company should be more or less solicitous as to the successful operation of this design, especially as it had been represented to them that there was danger of the rupture of the casing at high speed on account of the enormous stress due to centrifugal force. The shop test of the first turbine, however, served to set at rest these fears and to confirm the judgment of the Bureau, though the manner in which this was brought about would not have been designedly adopted. In


shutting clown the turbine, the operator neglected to shut off steam before releasing the load, with the result that the turbine “ran away” and completely wrecked the casing. The revolutions were estimated to have reached 8,000 per minute. The condition in which everything else was found was such as to set at rest the fears of the contractors and to inspire absolute confidence in the strength of the turbine as a whole.

Some of the boilers were built in the works of the Ford Motor Co., but the majority were constructed by the Brennan Boiler Works, Detroit, and the auxiliary machinery and equipment by the same firms that specialized in similar work for destroyers.

The trials of the first of these vessels were naturally watched with more than ordinary interest—an unusual design of hull and machinery, and built by a firm that hitherto had built nothing but automobile cars—would not ordinarily give expectation of a successful outcome without many modifications and tests. But so carefully had the details been worked out, and so well had the work been done, that Eagle No. 1 went through her official trial in a most satisfactory manner, realizing a speed of 18.3 knots for four hours in shallow water. The operation of the machinery was in every way satisfactory, the board reporting on the noiseless feature of operation in the following terms:

This machinery plant was especially designed for quiet running and freedom from vibration, and this has been obtained in a marked degree, by the substitution of direct turbine drive for geared and reciprocating drive in auxiliaries.

Inasmuch as comparatively few of these vessels had been delivered at the time of the armistice, it was desirable to discontinue the construction of those for which the fabrication of material had not proceeded too far. The survey which was made at the time showed that work on the machinery was far advanced; engines were completed for 71 boats, while those for 28 others were 50 per cent completed, and the material for the remaining 13 was on hand and 10 per cent fabricated. The boilers for 22 had been completed, and those for 20 more finished up to the point of assembly; material for the remainder was on hand and about 35 per cent fabricated. The auxiliary machinery, which forms a large part of the cost in small vessels, was ready for 67 boats, and the material for the remainder was on hand and about 75 per cent fabricated. Consideration of this condition and of the work on the hulls led to a decision to complete 60 boats and cancel the contract for the remaining 52.

That these vessels would have successfully filled the role assigned them in our campaign against the submarine is the judgment of all officers familiar with their design, their construction, and their performance under way.


Turbine and reduction gear for "Eagles".
Turbine and reduction gear for "Eagles".

The office of inspector of machinery was filled by Commander Carlos Bean, U. S. Navy, whose judgment and experience were of great assistance to the contractors in the production of the machinery and its installation. On the part of the contractors, the work was under the direction of Mr. William Mayo, the chief engineer of the company, whose broad engineering experience contributed greatly to the success of the undertaking.


Our Navy was woefully lacking in mine sweepers and tugs when we entered the war, and reports from our representative abroad pointed to the necessity for building vessels of this type. Of mine sweepers we had none, and powerful seagoing tugs were often sadly needed in the war zone, where it was possible to save many a valuable torpedoed ship and cargo, which for lack of such auxiliaries would become a total loss.

To meet these requirements contracts were early let for 36 mine sweepers, which number was later increased to 54, and for 23 seagoing tugs. Their construction was intrusted to firms which had been engaged in building similar craft and which were not employed on other work for the Navy, as well as to two of our navy yards.

In each case the design of machinery followed the best commercial practice. The engine was one that had been well tried out in service, and the boilers were standard marine type, being of the Babcock & Wilcox type for the mine sweepers and of the Scotch type for the tugs. As the engine selected for the mine sweepers had been built by the Harlan & Hollingsworth branch of the Bethlehem Shipbuilding Corporation, arrangements were made with that firm for preparation of the detail plans and of the orders for material, as well as for the machining of a considerable part of the work and for its subsequent shipment to the several building yards. Much of the machining was also done at the navy yard, Philadelphia, not only for the mine sweepers built at that yard but also for those constructed elsewhere. The result was absolute standardization and duplication of equipment in each vessel.

Many of these vessels rendered excellent service in the arduous and dangerous work of sweeping up the mines of the North Sea barrage after the signing of the armistice, and in other activities incident to the war.

A similar method of construction was followed in the case of the tugs, except that each building yard was responsible for the production of its own material and for its machining.


The construction of the mine sweepers was entrusted to the following firms:

Alabama Dry Dock Co., Mobile, Ala.

Baltimore Dry Dock & Shipbuilding Co., Baltimore, Md.

Chester Shipbuilding Co., Chester. Pa.

Gas Engine & Power Co., Morris Heights, N. Y.

New Jersey Dry Dock & Transportation Co., Elizabethport, N. J.

Pusey & Jones Co., Wilmington, Del.

Standard Shipbuilding Corporation, Port Richmond, N. Y.

Staten Island Shipbuilding Co., New York.

Sun Shipbuilding Co., Chester, Pa.

Todd Shipyard Corporation, New York.

Navy yard, Philadelphia, Pa.

Navy yard, Puget Sound, Wash.

The inspector of machinery at the Harlan & Hollingsworth plant was Capt. W. C. Herbert. U. S. Navy, retired, who was also inspector at the following building yards: Chester Shipbuilding Co., Pusey & Jones Co., and the Sun Shipbuilding Co. The inspectors at the other building yards were:

Commodore F. H. Eldridge, U. S. Navy, retired, at Gas Engine & Power Co., New Jersey Dry Dock & Transportation Co., Standard Shipbuilding Corporation, Staten Island Shipbuilding Co., and Todd Shipyard Corporation.

Commander C. E. Rommel, U. S. Navy, retired, at Baltimore Dry Dock Co.

Lieut. Commander H. S. Burdick, U. S. Navy, and Lieut. (T) Chauncey B. Doll, U. S. Navy, at the Alabama Dry Dock Co.

At the Philadelphia and Puget Sound Navy Yards, by the engineer officers Capt. C. A. Carr, U. S. Navy, and Commanders W. B. Wells and M. E. Reed, U. S. Navy.

The seagoing tugs were built by:

American Shipbuilding Co., Buffalo, N. Y.

Ferguson Iron & Steel Co., Buffalo, N. Y.

Seattle Construction & Dry Dock Co., Seattle, Wash.

Staten Island Shipbuilding Co., New York.

Navy yard, Puget Sound.

The inspection at Buffalo was under the direction of Commodore George B. Salisbury, U. S. Navy retired; that at Seattle under Commander W. W. Bush, U. S. Navy. retired; and that at Puget Sound under the engineer officer of the yard, Commander M. E. Reed, U. S. Navy.

In addition to the seagoing tugs, there were also constructed 40 wooden harbor tugs of standard design, the necessity for whose construction was daily growing on account of congested conditions in


our principal ports. They were built by a number of small-boat builders, some of whom had built submarine chasers, and by the navy yards. Charleston. S. C., and New Orleans, La.


The insufficiency in numbers of our submarines was keenly felt even before we declared war, and many of the 37 boats in service were of such an obsolete type as to reduce the number of effectives to less than one-half that number. Nearly all of these were equipped with 2-cycle engines; which had proved unreliable in service and, therefore, could not be depended upon for an active campaign. There were, however, 25 others under construction, some of them nearing completion, the reliability of whose machinery was unquestioned; but in order adequately to strengthen this arm of the service, Congress, in the act of August 29, 1916, authorized the immediate construction of 27 coastal submarines and 3 seagoing ones. Contracts for these were awarded in December, 1916, and January, 1917, and for 48 others a few months thereafter. Clauses were inserted in the contracts which authorized the payment of a bonus for speedy construction; and although none of this program was actually delivered during the war, the completion of the first lot followed rapidly thereafter.

In addition to these submarines of the R and S types, there were completed at the navy yard, Puget Sound, and delivered before the signing of the armistice four submarines of the II type, with two more following within two weeks. These were purchased in "knocked down” condition, having been originally intended for the Russian Government, and were assembled at Puget Sound.

The engines in all the boats delivered during the war are of a thoroughly reliable type, in which no experimental features were introduced, and they measured up to every expectation.

The total horsepower of the 84 submarines of the new program that were under construction in 1917 and 1918 is 115,480, which is nearly twice as great as the horsepower of those that were in commission at the time of the armistice.

The sources of supply of the engines installed in these boats were the New London Ship & Engine Co., New London, Conn.; and the Busch Sulzer Diesel Engine Co., St. Louis, Mo. The inspector of machinery at the former was Lieut. Holbrook Gibson, U. S. Navy, and at the latter. Commander Louis Shane, U. S. Navy. The installation of machinery at the building yards was under the direction of the inspector of machinery, Rear Admiral George W. McElroy,

U. S. Navy, with Lieut. C. M. Cooke, jr., U. S. Navy, specialty de-


tailed for this work, at Fore River; Lieut. D. C. Laizure, U. S. Navy, at the Lake Torpedo Boat Co.; Lieut. Commander I. H. Mayfield, U. S. Navy, at the California Shipbuilding Co.; and the engineer officer of the yard, Commander M. E. Reed, at the Puget Sound Navy Yard.

The storage batteries were supplied by the Electric Storage Battery Co. and the Gould Storage Battery Co., and the inspection was carried out under the direct supervision of Lieut. L. C. Dunn, of the Philadelphia inspection office.

Because of the unsatisfactory operation of the engines installed in the early submarines, all of which were of a different design, and each more or less experimental, contracts were entered into before the war for new engines of a standard design for the boats of the F class, and during the war new engines, also of a standard design, were provided for those of the H and K classes. Some of these engines were obtained by purchase, but most of them were built in navy yards under license from the New London Ship & Engine Co. Owing, however, to the fact that the boats could not be spared from the duty upon which they were engaged, installation of these new engines was not made until after the armistice. The net result has been to transform 10 unreliable boats into serviceable submarines that can be depended upon to perform any service required, although the transformation was accompanied by a slight reduction in maximum speed. This is, however, of little consequence compared with the reliability that has been secured.

New batteries were ordered in sufficient quantity to meet any demand, and thin plate batteries installed in some cases. Equipment was also supplied for the bases established at San Pedro, Calif., and to Coco Solo, Canal Zone, as also a large supply for the boats stationed at the Azores and in British waters.



The electrical work of the Bureau that was not associated with the design of new ships comprehended as great a volume of work relatively as did that of the corresponding mechanical engineering division, and this work was also equally as diversified. In searchlights, it involved mechanical control, the introduction of high-power lights, the substitution of incandescent signaling lights for the old Ardois system, and the equipment of submarines, patrol boats, and other auxiliary vessels.

By far the most important work done was that in connection with fire control, which was, of course, carried out in cooperation with the Bureau of Ordnance, and involved all circuits, telephones, call bells, and voice-tube leads. Not only had new ships to be equipped with the latest system, but systems had to be developed for the older ships and for all vessels of the Coast Guard and other Government departments, as well as for the auxiliary and patrol vessels. The changes required in fire-control systems resulting from the information that was acquired after we entered the war, and also in conformity with the recommendations of the Turret Board, were of such extent as to make necessary the sending to the battleships at Base 2 of working details from navy yards in order to prevent congestion at the yards, and also that the services of the mechanics of the ships might be utilized in expediting the work of alteration.

Auxiliary lighting systems were developed, as were also signal and recognition lights, and cruising lights for vessels in convoy.

Loud-speaking telephones were supplied to capital ships and telephones developed for aircraft use.

Six months or more before we became a belligerent, a survey was made of our probable requirements and of the sources of supply, as stated elsewhere, and we were, therefore, ready to act promptly and effectively when war was declared. One of the greatest problems that confronted us was that of obtaining an adequate supply of wire and cable, and it was only after a conference with 15 of the largest manufacturers, in which the Bureau of Supplies and Accounts also participated, that a satisfactory solution of the difficulty was effected. Thereafter the supply was apportioned in such a way that no delay was experienced in obtaining wire as it was needed.

Other matters which came under the direct supervision of the Electrical Division were storage batteries and electric motors for


submarines, and submarine detection, both of which are treated separately.

The officers of the Electrical Division were:

Commander G. W. S. Castle, U. S. Navy, in charge.

Commander L. S. Thompson, U. S. Navy, retired.4

Fire-control section: Lieut. Commander Alex. Sharp, U. S. Navy; Lieut. Commander A. M. Charlton, U. S. Navy; Lieut. (T) W. A. Mason, U. S. Navy; Lieut. T. P. Lovelace, U. S. Naval Reserve Force; Lieut. W. H. Smith, U. S. Naval Reserve Force; Ensign H. R. Adams, U. S. Naval Reserve Force.

Searchlight section: Lieut. Commander C. S. Bookwalter, U. S. Naval Reserve Force5; Lieut. Commander Gerald Howze, U. S. Navy, retired; Lieut. R. Kelly, U. S. Naval Reserve Force; Lieut. R. M. Knight, U. S. Naval Reserve Force; Ensign J. C. Small. U. S. Naval Reserve Force.

Submarine section: Lieut. Commander F. A. Daubin, U. S. Navy6; Lieut. Commander A. H. Gray, U. S. Navy; Lieut. Commander G. A. Rood, U. S. Navy.

Submarine detection: Lieut. Commander G. K. Calhoun (M. C.), U. S. Navy; Lieut. A. Davis, U. S. Naval Reserve Force.

Repair section: Capt. C. H. Johnson, U. S. Coast Guard; Lieut. H. A. Gosnell, U. S. Naval Reserve Force.

Supply section: Lieut. Commander H. H. J. Benson, U. S. Navy7; Lieut. (T) W. A. Vick, U. S. Navy; Lieut. H. T. Benzing, U. S. Naval Reserve Force; Lieut. E. J. Carroll, U. S. Naval Reserve Force; Lieut. Darrow Sage, U. S. Naval Reserve Force; Lieut. H. H. Stirling, U. S. Naval Reserve Force; Lieut. L. S. Webster, U. S. Naval Reserve Force; Lieut. B. J. Caldwell, U. S. Naval Reserve Force; Ensign E. B. Janvrin, U. S. Naval Reserve Force; Gunner W. M. Evans, U. S. Naval Reserve Force.


4 Until May 17, 1917.

5 Until Sept 27, 1917.

6 Until Dec. 7, 1917.

7 Until Aug. 18, 1917.




No work undertaken during the war was attended by greater interest than that conducted under the general direction of the Bureau on the development of devices for the detection of submarines. The one subject that transcended all others in public interest and in the magnitude of the financial consideration involved was the destruction of allied merchant tonnage, which at the time we entered the war had reached such a figure as to cause the greatest apprehension regarding the ability of the Allies to maintain a supply of munitions for the troops in France.

Even before we declared war on Germany, the Bureau had investigated some detection devices which appeared to possess merit, and even some which were not in this category, but whose promoters had made such statements as to what had been accomplished with them as to leave no course open except to test them under the conditions that prevail in service. The results were almost without exception such as to stamp the particular device as unsuited to the special purpose of detecting submarines.

Our submarine force operating off Pensacola, Fla., during January, February, and March, 1917, carried out tests and investigations of all available listening devices, which were those of the Submarine Signal Co. These tests were conducted to determine the range of these devices under different service conditions. Submerged submarines listened to surface vessels of different types as well as to other submarines, and tests were carried out from surface craft listening to submerged submarines. It was determined from these tests that the submarine offered a better listening station than the surface craft, and that with the devices then available the probability of successfully detecting submerged submarines was rather remote.

On March 5. 1917, the National Research Council, through the chairman of its Anti-submarine Committee, Dr. R. A. Millikan (later lieutenant colonel in the Signal Corps) proposed to the Bureau a plan for the further development of a detecting device which the Bureau had previously tested with negative results, and acting on the suggestion of Dr. Millikan the chief of bureau authorized him to express to the Western Electric Co. the desire of the Bureau that they assist in its development. The interest of the Western Electric Co. was immediately enlisted and continued.


About the same time conferences were held between the Submarine Signal Co. and the Western Electric Co. on the general subject of submarine detection and its bearing on certain experimental work which the latter was carrying on in the vicinity of Fortress Monroe for the Coast Artillery. In this work, the Western Electric Co. had planned a fundamental study of the disturbances actually given off by a submarine and an analysis of other disturbances of a like nature that might be encountered.

Magnetic detection had been proposed from many quarters; and in order to set at rest the value of this method, the Bureau, in May, 1917, assembled in Washington a group of scientists to consider the question. The members of this group, who served without remuneration other than actual expenses, were, suggested by Dr. Millikan, of the National Research Council, and were: Prof. Ernest Merritt, of Cornell University; Prof. A. C. Lunn, of the University of Chicago; Prof. H. A. Bumstead, of Yale University; Dr. L. A. Bauer, of the Carnegie Institution, Washington, D. C.; and Mr. W. H. Nichols, of the Western Electric Co. After a theoretical investigation of the various projects that might appear to offer some success in locating submarines, this committee submitted nine methods which might be employed, a few of which they considered of enough importance to justify practical investigation and development. The general tenor of their conclusions, unanimously reached, was that magnetic detection has a very limited range, and it was, therefore, decided that this method of detection was not the one to pursue in attempting to overcome the submarine menace.

Amongst other problems that had been presented to the Naval Consulting Board was that of finding a practical submarine detection device, and in their efforts to accomplish this they appealed to the Submarine Signal Co., who expressed a willingness to proceed with the construction of a station for the development of devices for detecting submarines from fixed stations along the coast. The Naval Consulting Board, by resolution of March 10, 1917, expressed appreciation of this action.

The Submarine Signal Co. proceeded immediately with the construction of a station at Nahant, Mass., which was completed April 7, 1917, when that company and representatives of the General Electric Co. began active work.

Upon the recommendation of the Chief of Bureau of Steam Engineering the Secretary of the Navy invited the General Electric Co., the Western Electric Co., and the Submarine Signal Co., to send representatives to Washington on May 8, 1917, for a conference on the subject, with a view to securing the active cooperation of the three companies. Following this conference, representatives of


the Western Electric Co. joined the representatives of the other companies at Nahant and proceeded with the work of developing detection devices.

Another result of this conference was the creation, on May 11, 1917, of the Special Board on Antisubmarine Devices. The board, of which Bear Admiral A. W. Grant, the submarine force commander, was senior member, was appointed for the purpose of procuring, either through original research, experiment, and manufacture, or through the development of ideas and devices submitted by inventors at large, suitable apparatus for both offensive and defensive operations against submarines. The other members of the board were Commanders C. S. McDowell and M. A. Libbey. To Commander McDowell, who acted in the capacity of secretary to the board, the Bureau is indebted for nearly all the material relating to its work.

The board was directed to cooperate actively with all companies whose resources offered anything of promise in the work in view, and specifically with the General Electric Co., the Western Electric Co., and the Submarine Signal Co., whose experience, equipment, and research facilities gave promise of being especially, valuable along the lines indicated. A representative from each of these companies and one from the National Research Council were appointed as advisory members of the board. These advisory members were Dr. R. A. Millikan; Dr. W. R. Whitney, of the General Electric Co.; Dr. F. B. Jewett, of the Western Electric Co. (later lieutenant colonel in the Signal Corps) ; and Mr. H. J. W. Fay. of the Submarine Signal Co.

In June, 1917, the special board met at Boston, Mass., and a definite organization for it, including its advisory members and groups, was drawn up to facilitate close coordination of the various groups, the Naval Consulting Board, and the National Research Council. Arrangements were made to procure two patrol vessels, one for the Nahant group and one for the New London group, to be devoted entirely to experimental work. At this time also the British Mission, consisting of Sir Ernest Rutherford and Commander Cyprian Bridge, R. N., and the French Mission, composed of Major Fabry, Major Abraham, and Captain Dupray, of the French Embassy, were taken to New London and Nahant to witness tests upon the apparatus under development at those stations.

In July, 1917, the British Admiralty sent to the United States as liaison officer for the work carried on in this country and in England. Lieut, (later lieutenant commander) S. C. Houghton, R. N. V. R., who continued in this capacity until the end of the war. He was of great assistance to the board.


July 26, 1917, Capt. S. S. Robinson succeeded Rear Admiral Grant as senior member of the board, and he in turn was succeeded by Bear Admiral B. C. Decker, who continued in that capacity for the remainder of the war.

A large number of antisubmarine devices, submitted by naval officers and inventors from all over the United States, were examined and tests witnessed by members of the board. Several designs of submarine nets were submitted, one of the earliest being the Elia-Sperry antisubmarine net, invented by Commander G. E. Elia, retired, of the Italian Navy, and Mr. E. A. Sperry, of the Sperry Gyroscope Co. On June 9. 1917, very extensive tests were carried out on the Elia-Sperry net with two submarines. These tests were witnessed by the members of the special board as well as by the officers of the mine force; and although the results were not entirely successful, valuable information was obtained as to the developments necessary.

The above is only one of a large number of similar tests witnessed by the special board during the Summer of 1917.

A meeting called by the National Research Council was held in Washington on June 1, 1917, with scientific representatives from England and France, members from the naval bureaus at Washington, representatives from the Western Electric Co., General Electric Co. and Submarine Signal Co., and several professors and individual investigators who had shown interest in this problem at various universities in the United States. At this meeting the foreign representatives explained fully the program which had been followed abroad and suggested various problems to be considered and developed by the investigators in this country for the improvement of antisubmarine devices.

Sir Ernest Rutherford described the striking results which he and other experimenters had obtained by using the binaural effect with so-called Broca tubes, and those in attendance were urged to begin their underwater sound work by repeating these experiments and thus become familiar with the precision obtainable with nothing more than two separate receivers supported about a meter apart in the water and connected by separate rubber tubes, one to each ear of the observer.

It may be noted that, although this utilization of the binaural effect for the detection and orientation of submarine sounds had been known in England, it had not been developed satisfactorily for application, and that this effect became the basic principle on which acoustical apparatus was devised in this country and supplied to our own Navy and the British as well.

At this same conference the supersonic work which had been begun in France by Prof. Langevin was presented in full by Majs.


Fabry and Abraham. The New York group, under the direction of Dr. M. T. Pupin, of Columbia University, selected at this time supersonic work at its major activity and continued work on this problem at New York, Key West, and New London, under the direction of the special board, during the continuation of the war. The San Pedro group, under Mr. Harris J. Ryan, also started work about this time on supersonic and kindred lines of research. Maj. Abraham also at this conference made a full presentation of the Walzer apparatus as developed in France, and from which Prof. Mason obtained his original ideas which led to the production of our best forms of acoustical devices.

Following the conference the various individual experimenters and professors returned to their universities and laboratories and continued to work under the guidance and supervision of the special board. At the suggestion of the National Research Council certain scientists were brought together at New London to work on some special problems which were developed at the Washington conference. This was the foundation of the New London group, which later came directly under the Navy and was the foundation of the naval experimental station. The original group consisted of: A. A. Michelson, chairman; E. Merritt, vice chairman and secretary; H. S. Bumstead, M. Mason, G. W. Pierce, E. F. Nichols, J. A. Wilson, and J. Zeleny.

A portable house was erected for a laboratory and the converted steam yachts Thetis and Narada were provided for the use of the experimenters. During the early part of the summer the only members of the group working at New London were Profs. Pierce, Mason, Merritt, and their assistants, the other members being at New Haven and reporting occasionally at New London for tests. At the meeting held in New London on July 3. 1917, Prof. Mason proposed the construction of apparatus which later became known as the M. V. apparatus. The first device of this type was constructed at the University of Wisconsin, and was installed on the Thetis at New London about July 15, 1917.

With the creation of the special board, all scattered activities were brought into fruitful cooperation. Through its affiliation with the civilian organizations mentioned, a selected group of highly qualified scientific men was obtained to begin work at New London, and this station immediately became a central headquarters. The groups already established at Nahant, New York, San Pedro, and elsewhere, and the individuals working in the laboratories of colleges and universities throughout the country, continued their investigations along the more or less specialized lines in which they had started, but the effectiveness of their work as individuals, as well as


its value in promoting the common aim, was tremendously increased by the system of information and the supervision of the central organization. Also, by virtue of the official character of the board, it was possible to keep in close touch with progress along similar lines in foreign countries.

At first the work naturally took the form of testing out abstract ideas evolved from the whole range of possibilities presented by the fields of sound, light, heat, and electricity. Each such test necessitated, first, some mathematical consideration of the subject and, second, the construction of elementary apparatus. The apparatus desired had to be constructed either by the scientists themselves or by such facilities as the station and neighboring manufacturing plants afforded. The first practical test of any idea was more likely to develop difficulties and unsuspected collateral phenomena than to afford a definite answer to the immediate question under investigation, leading to further study, computations, and manufacture of new apparatus even further removed from the conception of a practical design. It was an entirely new field, and the first steps had to be, in a sense, backwards into the unexplored regions where fundamental physical truths and engineering data were concealed.

Governing all activity was the insistent demand for haste. Whenever it appeared that there were several alternate lines of promising development it was necessary to undertake them all, or as many as could be handled, simultaneously, rather than to risk the chance of a single successful solution; and at the same time to exercise a broad judgment that would insure actual progress and prevent the frittering away of time, money, and intelligence in the investigations of unessential minutiae.

With the association of men of such ability as those gathered at New London and Nahant, it was inevitable that the number of projects and demands for experimental work should multiply much more rapidly than material, facilities, and personnel could be provided for their execution. Investigations along special lines were “farmed out,” either to subsidiary groups or to the research departments of the associated commercial companies, or to individuals working in their own laboratories throughout the country. Additional personnel was secured by the direct employment of men specially qualified as investigators and designers, and through enrollment in the Naval Reserve of others of the same type and of skilled artisans in many trades.

During the early period of the war several destroyers were equipped with standard apparatus for underwater signaling, manufactured by the Submarine Signal Co. This apparatus was proposed for use in the detection of submarines and, at the time of in-


stallation, was the only apparatus available which had possibilities for detecting the sounds given off by these boats. Later, Prof. R. A. Fessenden, of the Submarine Signal Co., developed other improved methods and devices which were installed in the destroyers Aylwin and Colhoun. These vessels were immediately dispatched to the war zone in order that practical demonstration might be made of their suitability for detecting submarines. No instruments that had been developed up to this time and installed in destroyers had given results superior to those obtained from these devices, but as development work at New London proceeded—in which it will be remembered that the Submarine Signal Co. was cooperating—other devices were produced which were considered better suited for use in destroyers, and further installation of the Fessenden devices was suspended. The original research and experimental work conducted by Prof. Fessenden in connection with the methods and apparatus which he proposed resulted in making available to other investigators knowledge and data the value of which should be fully recognized in the history of submarine detection.

Soon after its formation, the special board requested Maj. R. D. Mershon to take general charge under the board’s direction of the magnetic schemes, and to follow them in their preliminary development. It was realized by all concerned that all magnetic means of detection must of necessity be of very short range, and be more or less of an adjunct to other methods of detection or location of submarines. A great deal of praise is due to those who devoted their time and energy unceasingly on various magnetic devices with the realization, always, of the exceedingly difficult problem which confronted them. It will be seen later that real results were obtained by these investigators, and that short-range magnetic and electric devices were developed which could be utilized both on shipboard and from shore stations.

The board similarly requested Dr. H. E. Ives to supervise and advise in general on all work connected with “light.” Under Dr. Ives’s supervision a number of tests were carried out to develop a goggle for use by lookouts on ships and on airplanes, which would remove glare and make the submarine’s periscope and its wake stand out in greater relief. As a result of these tests a standard goggle was developed and adopted by the Navy Department for the use of lookouts.

Another of the early experiments with “light” was to determine the extent to which light rays from a high-powered searchlight could be transmitted through water. These tests were carried out at sea in deep water with a 36-inch high-power searchlight lowered about 20 feet beneath the surface. The result proved conclusively that practically all of the light was diffused, forming a ball, with


no beam, so that a low-power light was as effective as a high-power one, and that, therefore, no effective results could be obtained in locating submarines by the use of light beams.


During the summer of 1917, the investigations progressed very rapidly, and the board extended its activities to include the advice and cooperation of several of the leading physicists and engineers of the various universities and organizations of the country. In accordance with the orders from the Secretary of the Navy, instituting the special board, which stated that cooperation should be maintained with all industrial companies which gave promise of offering material and advice of a character which would prove of value to the board, several leading manufacturing companies were invited to become affiliated with the work of the board, in addition to the three already mentioned. These companies gave very valuable assistance through their hearty cooperation and willingness to supply overtime work and deliver material which was urgently needed. In addition to the three companies already mentioned, the following companies cooperated: United Wire & Supply Co., of Providence; Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Co.; Victor Talking Machine Co.; Locomobile Co. of America; Ford Motor Co.; Willys Overland Co.; Standard Parts Co., of Cleveland; Bryant Electric Co.; Worcester Polytechnic Shops, and Pittsfield Machine & Tool Co.


As the development of the antisubmarine apparatus progressed it was realized that the Navy personnel who were to operate the devices on the ships should have a special training, and a listeners’ school was therefore authorized by the Bureau of Navigation in August, 1917. The first class was started in September at the submarine base, but in July, 1918, the school was moved to the State Pier, New London. At each place a complete equipment of apparatus was provided, which enabled an extensive program of training to be instituted. Over 1,500 qualified listeners were graduated up to the time of the signing of the armistice.


By September, 1917, the activities of the various groups, especially of the New London group at the submarine base, had increased to such an extent that it was decided to start an experimental station with sufficient accommodations to allow for the growth of the activities of the special board.


An abandoned machine-shop building, which stood on the property adjoining the Fort Trumbull Reservation, was leased and, after extensive repairs and remodeling, was converted into an experimental laboratory. An intensive reconstruction program was started, and in the early spring of 1918 a fairly complete and efficient plant had been developed. A machine shop, very completely equipped, was organized, and a personnel of Navy machinists, carpenters, etc., assigned to the station. A marine railway was rebuilt and put in condition to haul out the experimental boats for installations and repair. Several additional wooden buildings were erected to accommodate the increasing personnel of the station, and offices and experimental booths assigned to the technical staff in order to facilitate this development work as much as possible.

As indicating the growth of work at the experimental station, it is of interest to state that at the time it was officially taken over in October, 1917, there were about 10 enlisted men attached to the station, 4 of whom were doing guard duty. The number was rapidly increased to about 200 at the beginning of 1918, and at the time of the signing of the armistice over 700 enlisted men were on duty there.

To enlist the interest and cooperation of additional companies, the special board asked the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Co. to lend the services of an experimental engineer. The board was fortunate in thus obtaining Mr. S. W. Farnsworth, whose services were invaluable in starting the experimental station. Later, Mr. Farnsworth went to London as one of the scientific attaches at the American Embassy.


By the fall of 1917, the Nahant group had developed a type of listening device known as the C-tube. Later, adapting to use with microphones, the rotary compensator that was developed at New London for acoustical work, this group developed the apparatus known as the K-tube.

On the 21st of August, 1917, a very interesting practical demonstration of the use of the C-tube was given in Boston Harbor. The test was arranged to duplicate as nearly as possible an actual offensive attack upon an enemy submarine; with three chasers equipped with C-tubes and various signaling apparatus to intercommunicate the bearings obtained on the submarine.

Miniature depth bombs, consisting of electric light bulbs designed to explode 50 feet below the surface, were dropped near the submarine to indicate that it had been located and could actually have been destroyed. The most interesting feature of this test, aside from the data obtained, was the fact that a practical detector had been de-


veloped in less than four months from the time investigations had been started. While this apparatus was naturally rather crude in many details and was capable of improvement, it embodied important and necessary features of a successful device.

In October, 1917, progress had been made to such a point that the successful completion of several useful devices was practically assured. The questions of mechanical design and quantity production then presented themselves as of the same order of magnitude and complexity as the original research work. Laboratory apparatus had to be redesigned with reference to the installation upon seagoing craft, and intricacies of operation simplified for use by seagoing personnel. In order to preserve secrecy, it was necessary in some cases to distribute the manufacture of parts among several manufacturers. Special raw material had to be obtained and special manufacturing processes developed. The manufacturing firms equipped to do work of the novel character and nicety required were few at best, and at this time all the industries of the country were crowded with other war work.

In December, 1917, Capt. E. H. Leigh, U. S. Navy (then Assistant Chief of the Bureau of Steam Engineering) was detailed to take to England sample sets of all of the latest apparatus that had been developed. This was installed in British craft as well as in our own destroyers abroad, and demonstrations of its capabilities were given. As a result of these demonstrations a large number of K-tubes and of MF-tubes were requested by the British Admiralty and supplied from this country, and later other forms of detection devices, including tripod listening equipments, were supplied to it. Capt. Leigh remained at the United States naval headquarters in England on Admiral Sims’s staff for the rest of the war, having charge of our antisubmarine work abroad.

In the development of our special devices it was, of course, necessary to keep constantly in mind the practical procedure that would be demanded of the seagoing personnel in order to make effective use of them. It was in this connection that the organization of the special board, composed of experienced naval officers working in close relation with physicists of the highest attainments, proved of the greatest value. The question of practicability from a naval standpoint was kept always in the foreground, and must constantly have worked insensibly, as it often did directly, to prevent development along impracticable lines, however promising the outlook from the point of abstract theory. Incidentally, it was this feature as much as any other that accounted for the superiority of American devices and the completeness of American plans and equipment, as compared with those of the corresponding antisubmarine forces of our European allies.


Consideration of the practicability of apparatus and of the methods necessary to employ it most effectively, led directly into two developments of the utmost importance, viz:

(1) Types of vessels to which adapted.

(2) Tactics to be employed and training of personnel.

Both of these subjects need special comment:


The special point that had to be kept in mind was to produce apparatus that would be effective against submarines, and there was no limitation upon design on account of the type of vessel that would be required to make effective use of it. Nevertheless, the critical nature of the situation when this country entered the war practically restricted the design of apparatus to something that could be utilized by existing types. It was not possible, for instance, to consider in the beginning the construction of vessels in which all other considerations were subordinated to a single specialized operation, as was done by the British in several instances, although later, the Eagles were projected more or less in accordance with this principle.

The destroyers were generally regarded as the ideal antisubmarine craft, and the destroyer building program had been assigned priority over all other acuities. It was natural, therefore, that the special necessities of these vessels should receive primary consideration in the design of apparatus. However, the destroyers did not offer so promising an outlook in every respect as that presented by the subchasers. These vessels had been provided for at the very outbreak of war, before “listening gear" had been conceived, and they were rapidly approaching completion about the time the first practical devices took definite shape. Although the chasers had been designed primarily as patrol boats and without any idea as to the very specialized operation that was to be evolved for submarine chasing, it was a fortunate circumstance that the early detection devices lent themselves to easy installation in these vessels, while the general design of the latter, although not ideal in some important respects, was far more favorable for the purpose than any other type. In this way the chaser project became intimately associated with the work of the board. It would be difficult to say to what extent the development of apparatus was influenced by the special needs of the destroyers and chasers, but the field represented by vessels of other types, including aircraft, and by shore installations, was never lost sight of.


The earliest forms of practicable apparatus had limitations which made the whole question of success or failure depend upon skill of personnel and an adequate plan of procedure, that, is to say, the tactics of the antisubmarine craft. The same thing is generally true as regards any sort of naval equipment, but in the present case the degree of skill required and the special character of the tactics that had to be elaborated and made practicable introduced problems the solution of which might have been regarded as impossible except under the spur of absolute necessity. For example, all varieties of detecting gear gave only the direction and not the distance of the submarine. To determine with necessary accuracy the submarine’s position, or, in technical language, to obtain a “fix,” triangulation was required, and this at once made it plain that hunting craft must work in groups. Again, the detecting apparatus could be used only when the hunting vessels were dead in the water, which enormously decreased the effective speed of hunting units. Also, to attack with the depth charge was a much more intricate problem than to open fire with a battery of guns; it was necessary to fire a whole group of ships accurately at a given “fix.”

The procedure of conducting a successful chase and attack thus involved details of ship handling, navigational plotting, and communication between ships with a degree of speed unheard of before in any kind of naval craft. The special equipment to make this possible was devised and provided, but manifestly the question of training was as important as anything in the line of equipment. Since the chasers were to be manned by an untrained personnel and a certain period of training would be necessary in any case, the opportunity was presented to equip and train these vessels along the specialized lines indicated. In the case of the destroyers, the demand for whose services in connection with the convoy system outweighed all other considerations, the best that could be done was to furnish them with the apparatus, leaving them to work out the necessary procedure for concerted action while in active service.


The addition to the special board of Capt. J. T. Tompkins, U. S. Navy, of Naval Operations; Capt. A. J. Hepburn, U. S. Navy, in command of naval district base, New London; and of Commander E. C. S. Parker, U. S. Navy, in charge of the tactical group at New London, in January, 1918, increased the activities of the board’s work. Capt. Tompkins followed the antisubmarine work in the Navy Department, Capt. Hepburn took charge of the equipment and training of submarine chasers, and Commander Parker, through the


tactical group, cooperated in developing the tactics and methods of operation of the chasers which were equipped with detection apparatus.

In May, 1918, Commander Parker was detached from duty with the special board and was succeeded by Capt. W. P. Cronan, and in July, 1918, Capt. Hepburn was ordered to command the submarine chasers based on Queenstown, Ireland. He was relieved by Capt. W. T. Tarrant. In September, 1918, Commander McDowell was ordered to naval headquarters, London, for antisubmarine duty, and was succeeded as member and Secretary by Capt. J. R. Defrees.

In order to secure close cooperation between the board and the Department, the following named officers were appointed members of the board in May, 1918: Lieut. Commander G. K. Calhoun (Math.) U. S. Navy, of the Bureau of Steam Engineering; Lieut. Commander P. S. Wilkinson, jr., U. S. Navy, of the Bureau of Ordnance; and Lieut. Commander H. R. Bogusch, U. S. Navy, of the Bureau of Construction and Repair.


During the spring and summer of 1918 the scope of the special board’s activities caused the experimental station to expand greatly. New buildings were erected and civilian experts were obtained from all parts of the country to assist in the design and development of the apparatus, both from technical and engineering standpoints. A test department was formed to compare the various devices at sea, and this department also investigated the ability and comparative merits of the devices submitted by the various groups and individual experimenters of the other stations. Exceptional facilities for extensive tests at sea were afforded through the assignment of the destroyer Jouett, three converted steam yachts, and three submarine chasers to the exclusive use of the experimenters and the test department. The submarine base assigned submarines as required, thus allowing extensive tests to be carried out, using submarines as noise makers and as listening craft. Installations of nearly every type of submarine detector developed at this time were made on the Jouett, and valuable data were obtained relative to the applications of the devices for service conditions. These preliminary installations led to the practical development of the MV-tube and its quantity production and installation.


A hydrophone school was authorized by the Bureau of Navigation on September 9, 1918, for the training of hydrophone officers. The listening school which had been in operation since June, 1917, had


great success in training the enlisted men to do the actual listening on the various devices installed on board ship and at shore stations. As the installations increased it was realized that a force of officers was needed to supervise the installation, care, upkeep, and repair of the devices. Accordingly, a trial school was formed in July, 1918, which graduated about 50 officers. The results were so favorable that the school was officially approved by the Bureau of Navigation, and the first official class was started in September, 1918, and continued for three months, during which time about 150 hydrophone officers were trained.

The school was equipped very completely with models of the latest antisubmarine devices, and several boats were assigned to its use for practical training at sea.


As the number of antisubmarine devices increased and their extensive application was made to boats and stations in this country and abroad, it was found necessary to supply pamphlets and bulletins describing the operation of the apparatus. It was also desired to keep the British and French antisubmarine divisions informed of the progress being made in this country. The first publications were principally in the nature of instruction books, covering the general principles, descriptions, operation, installations, and care of the different apparatus, but in the latter part of the summer of 1918 a regular publication department was established, with Mr. J. R. Hewett, editor of the General Electric Review, as head of the department, and with Mr. G. S. De Reemer, formerly secretary of the Ship Protection Committee of the Shipping Board, as assistant. Monthly publications were issued from this time until after the armistice was signed, giving in considerable detail the various developments under way and results obtained on the different problems.


The primary object of the special board was to further the development of any apparatus or device which would assist in the detection of enemy submarines and aid in their ultimate destruction. Most of the devices developed through the agency of the special board were based on the principle of detection through the water of the noises given off from the submarine. These devices were extremely varied in principle and form, but their objective was maximum range combined with directional accuracy and freedom from extraneous noises.

A second fundamental problem was that of detecting a "silent" submarine, either lying on the bottom or operating at its most silent speed, which rendered detection by sound almost impossible.


The experiments undertaken were practically centered about these two problems, with the idea of installing suitable devices on various types of surface craft, submarines, aircraft, and shore stations, which would reveal the presence and location of the enemy.

In addition to the above problems a large number of closely allied investigations were necessary for systematic hunting, chasing, and attacking the submarine. This led to the development of secret signaling, plotting apparatus, intercommunication systems for operations between the elements of a chasing patrol group, silencing of machinery noises, and a large number of similar devices.

An idea of the magnitude of the research work undertaken by the various groups under the supervision of the special board is shown by the following data:

The six groups, namely, New London, Nahant, San Pedro, Chicago, Wisconsin, and Key West had undertaken, up to the close of the year 1918, 230 separate problems, over half of which had been completed and a final report submitted. A considerable number of the completed problems resulted in the development of apparatus ready for standardized quantity production and installation. In practically every case the reports led to important results in connection with other problems, or to the elimination of methods and devices which were found impracticable.

The diversified nature of the various investigations being undertaken, together with the large number of investigators who were often simultaneously studying the problems, makes it difficult to outline the progress of these activities in a chronological order. In order to touch upon the contributions of the various experimenters and to maintain a logical sequence of development it seems advisable to subdivide the work into several classes and to follow the growth of each separately.

A broad subdivision of the work may be stated as follows:

1. Development of sound-detection apparatus.

2. Detection of submarines at rest.

3. Application of detection apparatus to aircraft.

4. Installation of shore station anti-submarine apparatus.

5. Miscellaneous apparatus.


A majority of the problems investigated by the various groups depended on the existence of audible submarine sounds. The efforts of the Nahant group resulted in the production of the C-tube, the K-tube and of several types of towing devices known as OS, OK, and OV tubes, as a result, principally, of the work of Dr. Irving Langmuir, Dr. W. D, Coolidge, and Mr. C. E. Eveleth.


At the experimental station, New London, Conn., the early work on this problem was carried out by Profs. Bridgeman, Mason, Merritt, and Pierce, who had started preliminary investigations at the submarine base.

The efforts of the New London group resulted in the practical development of several types of devices known as the MB-tube, the MF-tube, and the MV-tube, which were installed very extensively on submarine chasers and destroyers.

The methods used for detecting the sound waves sent out from the submarine may be divided into two general classes, electrical and mechanical.

In general, the efforts of the experiments were concentrated on one or the other of these two methods. However, it would be difficult definitely to separate the activities of the several men. Very frequent technical council meetings were held by Commander McDowell, secretary of the board, at which all the experimenters discussed in detail the work of each as well as the numerous schemes and contributions from the outside groups which were working on similar problems.


The general requirements of a listening apparatus which embodies all that could be desired are as follows: It must be adapted to detect a submarine at a considerable distance without interference from noise produced by other shipping, by water noise, or by noise due to motion of the vessel on which it is installed; it should be able to give the direction and distance of the submarine accurately; it should be seaworthy, of robust mechanical construction, convenient, and rapid in operation.

No instrument has as yet been devised which satisfied all these requirements. In fact, no single instrument can yet give the distance of the submarine. Instruments were developed, however, for successful use with the listening boat underway, at speeds up to 14 knots, and with which directions could be obtained within 2 or 3 degrees.

Listening apparatus may be divided into several groups as follows :









Instruments mounted directly in the vessel.

Instruments mounted outside the vessel.



In the early days of the war, before the possibilities of detection were understood, and when any instrument of any use whatever was urgently needed, a large number of nondirectional instruments were manufactured in England and supplied to patrol vessels for the purpose of determining whether there was a submarine in the vicinity. These instruments, of course, were of little value in the pursuit of submarines, because the only practicable method of use was to listen to the submarine, then move on and listen again, judging by the change of intensity of sound whether the course was in the correct direction or not. This method of procedure was very slow and few submarines were destroyed by it.

The simplest nondirectional instrument consists of a microphone mounted inside a cavity, closed by a flexible membrane. The membrane is moved by the pressure produced when a sound wave passes over it and this actuates the microphone. Since the pressure in a sound wave is purely hydrostatic, that is, the pressure is the same in every direction, it is impossible to tell with an instrument of this kind from what direction the sound comes.

Very shortly, however, after the beginning of the war directional instruments began to make their appearance. One of the simplest of these, which was developed by the British, consists of a diaphragm in a rigid ring with a microphone mounted at the center of the diaphragm. If sound strikes the diaphragm from the left or from the right, the diaphragm will move and the microphone will respond, but if sound approaches the instrument from above or below, it will divide on the heavy metal ring, giving two impulses to the diaphragm of equal intensity from opposite sides. These two impulses in opposite directions will neutralize each other, and the diaphragm will remain stationary and the microphone will not respond. As this instrument is turned around in the water, the sound given by it will be the loudest, therefore, when the plane of the face of the diaphragm is at right angles to the direction of the sound, and faintest when the plane of the diaphragm has the same direction as the sound. In this way some idea may be obtained of the direction of the sound, but it will be noticed that the indications of the instrument are not positive, because it is impossible to tell with it whether the sound is coming from one direction or from another diametrically opposite. There are several of these bidirectional instruments.

The simple English bidirectional microphone above described may be made unidirectional; that is, to give unambiguous indications of the direction of sound if a simple sound screen, or “baffle,” as


the English call it, is combined with it. This sound screen consists of a hollow box of xylonite mounted several inches to the left of the diaphragm. This sound screen absorbs sound coming from the left, so that it is easy to tell by comparing the intensity in different positions from which direction the sound comes. When the sound is an absolute maximum, it is coming from the side of the diaphragm away from the sound screen, and the plane of the diaphragm is at right angles to its direction.

Most directional instruments developed by the British use the principle of the sound screen. The directional instruments devised on this side of the Atlantic, however, nearly all depend on another principle, and the extensive application of this principle in determining direction constitutes one of the most important original contributions of this country to the problem of submarine detection. These American instruments use the principle of binaural determination of direction. When sound from an object takes the same time to reach both ears it will appear to be neither to the right nor to the left. The principles of binaural determination of direction were known for a long time before the war, but most of the early efforts in England were devoted to developments of the sound screen as likely to be simpler and yield more immediate results. The discoveries that microphones with properly constructed receivers may be used binaurally, and that a nonresonant and relatively insensitive receiver is better for binaural use, materially extended the practical use of the binaural principle.

The directional instruments which use the binaural principle are either rotatable or else are connected with a device for changing the length of air paths, or electric paths, to the different receivers in such a way that the sound seems to be centered. Such instruments are called compensators.


Whether an instrument should be resonant or nonresonant is a question about which there is still divergence of opinion and practice. At the beginning of the war, when the conditions of operation were not so clearly understood as they are now, it was assumed universally that the first requirement of a detecting instrument was great range and, therefore, great sensitiveness. There is no question that the most sensitive receiver is a resonant receiver. Everyone is familiar with the fact that a pendulum may be thrown into violent oscillation by a succession of very weak impulses so timed as to coincide with the natural period of the pendulum. In the same way, a diaphragm in water may be thrown into violent agitation by a comparatively feeble source of sound if the frequency of


the sound waves is the same as the natural frequency of the diaphragm.

Calculations made on this point shortly after the war began showed that it is possible in this way to throw a diaphragm into a motion of 1,000 times the natural amplitude of the sound waves. If the amplitude is multiplied by 1,000 this means that the intensity is multiplied by 1,000,000, since the intensity varies as the square of the amplitude. Such a possibility offered much promise, and much early work of the British consisted in applying microphones to tuned diaphragms and in this way getting very great sensitiveness. But it soon appeared that mere sensitiveness, with nothing else, is one of the last requirements in a listening apparatus. When listening for a submarine there are all kinds of noise besides the submarine to listen to, and the problem is to pick out a submarine from the mass of other noise. If the instrument is sensitive to all kinds of noise, there is no advantage in making it sensitive beyond a certain point.

Another disadvantage is that a resonant instrument is most sensitive to only one pitch—the natural pitch of the instrument itself. A submarine or any other boat heard on such a resonant instrument is almost devoid of quality, the only means of distinction being the rhythm. A trained listener is able to separate and identify boats by the quality of the sound given by them, but this advantage is entirely lost in a resonant instrument. In order to overcome this disadvantage, there were many attempts in the early days of the war to find what the characteristic frequency of a submarine was and to tune the diaphragm to this frequency. It was found, however, that the submarine emits no characteristic frequency, but gives out sound covering most of the range of the audible. Another disadvantage of resonant instruments is that they can not be used binaurally, because they do not faithfully reproduce phase.

In this country, on the other hand, emphasis was laid on the development of nonresonant instruments. These instruments are not so sensitive and can not have so great a range when entirely free from disturbance, but they do give faithful reproduction of sound and make it possible for a trained listener to distinguish, by the quality of sound, the submarine from other boats or water noise, or from noise of his own engines. Such instruments are also particularly adapted to the determination of direction by the binaural method.


The method of reception of sound from water may be either mechanical or electrical. There are two principal methods of electrical reception. One is with the microphone. The microphone is


mounted on a diaphragm which is set in motion to the microphone, which latter responds and reproduces the sound in a telephone by ordinary methods. Another electrical method of reception is the magnetophone. A coil of wire is placed in a magnetic field, mounted on a diaphragm which is actuated by the sound waves in the water. Transient currents are generated in the coil when it is moved in the magnetic field by the sound waves. Those transient currents are led to the telephone in the ordinary way. The microphone has the advantage of greater simplicity and convenience, and it has been used almost exclusively.

The best-known example of such an instrument developed in this country is the K-tube. A magnetophone gives more faithful reproduction of sound than the microphone, and is freer from disturbance, but its sensitiveness is so low that it must be used in connection with an amplifier, and this additional complication was sufficient to prevent its general adoption.

Another method of electrical reception of sound waves from water which showed considerable promise was the electrical condenser. If a condenser is put into water and subjected to sound waves, its dimensions change in virtue of the changes of pressure in the water, and consequently its capacity changes also. If the condenser is charged, changes of potential are produced by these changes of capacity. These changes of potential in the proper electrical circuit produce fluctuating currents which may be led to a telephone and converted into sound. The chief disadvantage of the condenser is that it must be used with an amplifier, thus introducing electrical complications. If the condenser is made up in a long narrow form it has the advantage of being automatically more sensitive to sound from one direction only, thus giving a simple directional instrument.

The receivers of mechanical instruments consist usually of a flexible chamber of metal or rubber placed in the water and exposed to sound waves, connecting through pipes with the ears of the observer. These receivers were called Broca receivers in this country, this name being taken from the French. In England, such receivers are frequently called “stethoscopes.” In this country, the term “stethoscope ” has been applied only to the tubes entering the ears. Broca receivers do not in general have the sensitiveness of the microphone, but a good Broca gives a very much more faithful reproduction of sound and, for that reason, is much preferred by many in submarine detection. Besides superior quality, an advantage of the mechanical instruments is simplicity. A disadvantage is that it is impossible to use long leads, thus making it necessary to place the observer and the compensator near the receiver. This often results in inconvenience in operation.


In this country, the best known examples of mechanical instruments, are the C-tubes and all the multiple-unit devices. In France, the Walzer plate is the best known example.


Most of the instruments developed abroad were of the single-unit type. The multiunit instrument was most extensively developed in this country, although suggestions were made for such instruments in England before this country entered the war, and the French Walzer plate is a multiunit device. As the term is used here, multiunit instruments embrace those instruments in which a number of receivers are so connected as to bring the sound in phase within the instrument itself, when the instrument is correctly adjusted. According to this use of the word, the C-tube, which consists of two single receivers, one connected to each ear, would not be termed a multiunit instruments, but a “ single-unit instrument used binaurally.” A distinctive property of multiunit instruments is that they may be focused in a definite direction, just as a telescope may be similarly focused, and in this way the sound of a submarine may be magnified at the expense of other sounds, such as water noise, or ’ the noise of other vessels which do not have the same direction as the submarine. Practically all results obtained from boats in motion with apparatus mounted directly in the boat have been obtained with instruments of this class, and it is along the line of multiunit instruments that probably most of the important future developments will take place.


The most convenient location, of course, for listening apparatus is on the same boat with the observer, but because of the difficulty of using such apparatus with the boat under way, a great deal of effort was devoted to developing apparatus which could be towed behind the boat, in this way getting rid of the noise of one’s own engines and a large part of the water noise. Successful development of the MV apparatus, mounted on the vessel itself, eliminated to a great extent the necessity for towed devices. The Nash fish is a towed listening apparatus developed in England. The OS-tube. the OK-tube, and the microphone eel are successful developments in this country.


This problem was studied very extensively by a large number of individual investigators and groups.

Prof. Merritt, at the experimental station was working on this problem at the time the special board was appointed in May, 1917,


and actively followed the progress of the various schemes proposed until the close of the war. By the middle of the summer of 1918, he had developed a device known as the AD-tube, which gave very satisfactory operation for short-range work.

Of the various schemes proposed and studied, by groups not working at New London, there were two devices which showed special merit, and extensive tests were made upon each at the experimental station.

Prof. V. Bush, of the American Radio & Research Corporation, started investigations upon a magnetic method of detection of a quiet submarine early in 1917, and went to New London with the apparatus where a number of tests were conducted. The apparatus known as the audio telegraph was developed up to the point of being ready for quantity production, but it was not put into general use.

Mr. B. G. Lamme, chief engineer of the Westinghouse Electric & Manufacturing Co., and a member of the Naval Consulting Board, undertook investigations upon the detection of submarines at rest, shortly before the United States declared war, and developed an experimental device at Pittsburgh, Pa. After exhaustive tests over a period of several months, the final product was brought to New London for further development and tests under actual sea conditions.

At the time of the armistice, the status of the four principal devices was such that they could be readily built in quantity production and installed on submarine chasers with assurance of fairly consistent operation over short ranges.

A second method of detecting a submarine at rest was investigated very thoroughly in this country by a great many experimenters under the supervision of the special board. The confidential nature of the work prevents a detailed account of the progress made, but mention should be made of the following men who contributed largely to the success of the work: Profs. M. I. Pupin, A. P. Wills, J. H. Morecroft, G. B. Pegram, and Mr. E. H. Armstrong, of Columbia University; Lieut. Col. R. A. Millikan, of the National Research Council; Prof. W. G. Cady, of Wesleyan University; Dr. Irving Langmuir, Dr. A. W. Hull, Mr. C. E. Eveleth, and Mr. A. L. Ellis, of the General Electric Co.; and members of the San Pedro group, including Messrs. H. J. Ryan, L. F. Fuller, H. D. Babcock, and R. A. Anderson.


Aircraft, both seaplanes and dirigibles, possess certain advantages for detection of submarines over surface craft. On account of the height of the observer from the surface, a very large area may be


observed; in addition, the wake of a periscope appears as a white ribbon against the dark background of the sea, and the superior speed of aircraft permits them to reach quickly any supposed location of a submarine. To be able to detect a submarine totally submerged, aircraft must be able to drop some form of listening device under water, because a submarine, save in exceptionally clear water with sandy bottom, becomes invisible from the air as soon as the periscope is entirely under. On account of its ability to stay practically stationary in the air, the dirigible can utilize a form of listening device which can be lowered from the craft and towed under water. Several towed listening devices were developed to accomplish this, the most satisfactory being the “electric eel” and the OK-tube, compensators being used by the listener in each case. Dirigibles, when equipped in this manner, should prove very effective offensive craft for use against submarines in the daytime and in ordinary weather. It would usually be necessary to have cooperation between aircraft and surface craft maintained by means of radio telephone communication so that surface craft may be called in to assist in destroying a submarine which had been located. During the last few months of the war there were a number of cases of such cooperation between aircraft and submarines, although none of the aircraft in the war zone was fitted with listening devices, except for experimental trials.

On account of their speed, seaplanes can cover greater areas visually than dirigibles, but to hear a submarine they must land on the water. To afford means of listening on seaplanes, there were developed devices for listening when the seaplane had landed on the water and was drifting, the most satisfactory being the PB-tube, consisting of three microphone units suspended separately from three rings on the bow of the plane, so as to form a triangle; and the electric eel, a multiple-unit microphone device encased in a long rubber tube. Both of these devices were used with a compensator, and a number of them had been supplied to aircraft in this country before the armistice, and some had been sent abroad.


For the detection of submarines at certain congested lanes near the coast, and at entrances of harbors and bays, the British rather early in the war developed a tripod, with a microphone mounted upon it, which was lowered to the bottom and a listening station established on shore with connection by cable to the tripod. This apparatus was nondirectional, so that the only way a submarine could be located approximately was by judging its nearness to one of several such tripods by the intensity of the sound received. The first apparatus developed in this country was, in general, similar to that


used in England, except that, instead of using a separate cable to each microphone, one cable was used for twenty microphones with a selective switching system, allowing the operator to connect to any one of the detectors.

Later it was seen that the binaural principle could be more effectively used, and tripods were equipped with three microphones in the form of a triangle, giving, in effect, the same results as a K-tube supported from the bottom of the sea, the compensator being located at the listening station on shore. The switching arrangement for this apparatus required considerable study and experiment, but eventually they proved very satisfactory. The submarine cable used in this installation had to be specially designed so as to keep both circuits of the binaural system as near alike in their electrical characteristics as possible, and also to prevent interference between the two circuits; in other words, they had to be electrically equal and electrically balanced. There were many details of this apparatus which required long and careful tests and experiments, but finally satisfactory stations were installed at the entrance to Long Island Sound and Chesapeake Bay. In addition, orders had been placed for a number of additional installations at other locations along the coast, and equipment consisting of six tripods with necessary cable and shore apparatus had been sent abroad at the request of the British Admiralty, and was in course of being planted when the armistice was signed. This tripod shore station installation required the development of means of plotting the submarines located, and means of communicating to shore fortifications, searchlight stations, and hunting craft, which were cooperating with shore stations. This shore station tripod development was carried out principally by engineers of the Western Electric Co. working with certain officers under the special board, and was in direct charge of Mr. E. H. Colpitts, of the Western Electric Co.

In addition to listening devices with shore connections, there was developed a system of magnetic loops for detecting by means of a galvanometer on shore when a submarine passed over a loop. These loops were laid in a number of different forms, the principal purpose being to determine by the sequence of deflections received from the different leads the exact position of the submarine. The magnetic loop, similar to all other magnetic devices, had a very short range, but would indicate when a submarine crossed a cable laid across a channel or entrance; and as it was of short range, no confusion would be experienced by a large number of vessels in the same general vicinity as would be the case when using tripod listening devices. Thus the magnetic loop was an adjunct to the tripod stations to a certain extent. The magnetic loop was originally de-


veloped abroad, and was used rather extensively by both the British and the French. The developments in this country consisted principally in the form of loops, the method of recording the galvanometer deflections or indications, and the method of eliminating shore disturbances, such as those caused by trolley systems. This apparatus had been satisfactorily installed at the entrance to Chesapeake Bay and was in operation when the armistice was signed. The development of the magnetic loop in this country was carried out by certain officers and others from New London in cooperation with the engineers of the Western Electric Co. and was in general charge of Mr. E. H. Colpitts.


The application of listening devices and other detection apparatus to various types of craft and to shore stations showed the need of other apparatus for the proper working out of the tactics of approach and attack.

The early study of the tactics required for successful location, approach, and attack on submarines developed the three-ship unit as standard for hunting. Each vessel of the unit would obtain a bearing of the submarine, which was then transmitted to the unit leader, where the three bearings were plotted on the plotting instrument and the true bearing and distance of the submarine obtained. The course and distance to be run was then transmitted to the vessels of the unit, and orders given as to speed, dropping of depth charges, etc. This required very quick methods of communication which must be dependable at all times. For this purpose a short-range radiotelephone was developed by the Western Electric engineers in general charge of Mr. E. B. Craft. This radiotelephone was similar, in general, to that developed for aircraft, and the development of the two was carried on at the same time, but the radiotelephone was in satisfactory operation on submarine chasers before it was adopted for aircraft.

As an auxiliary method of communication on subchasers there was developed a visual indicator to show the direction of a submarine heard and the course to be run, which consisted of a large vertical arrow which could be rotated in the vertical plane like the hand of a clock to show angles, and could be rotated in azimuth so as to face the ship to which information was to be transmitted. Other instructions, such as speed, stopping, and getting under way. and distance to be run, could be transmitted visually by means of shapes and balls.

The plotting instrument referred to consisted of a reverse three-arm protractor, developed for this particular purpose, by means of


which the bearings from the three vessels could be quickly utilized to obtain a “cut” or intersection, and thus the bearing and distance of the submarine from the center ship.

Another problem which presented itself was the provision of means for signaling at night between vessels of a hunting group and between different vessels in convoy, without any possibility of detection by an enemy. To accomplish this, there was developed transmitting and receiving apparatus utilizing invisible light rays which had a range of about 5 miles in the type adopted for smaller-sized vessels. This research was the original work of Mr. Theodore W. Case, the practical development being carried out by him at the experimental station, New London.

There was a large number of other developments successfully undertaken which are not covered here, but it is believed that the scope of the antisubmarine work has been indicated and that a realization can be obtained of the effective cooperation which was maintained by all concerned in this work. It seems clear also that this country was very well prepared to meet effectively and to overcome the submarine menace if the war had continued.


A review of the antisubmarine activities would not be complete without a brief summary of the practical results accomplished in the war zone, by the hunting crafts of the allied navies, which were equipped with Brio us detection devices.

The prime object of the antisubmarine campaign, and the one which first comes to the mind of the average reader, is that of providing means to actually destroy the enemy submarines. This is, undoubtedly, the most important and effective factor in the solution of the problem of making the seas safe from enemy submarine attacks. However, the numerous antisubmarine methods and apparatus developed and brought into use in this country accomplished most important results in various ways, a few of which are enumerated below:

(a) Detection and location of the submarine, to allow its ultimate destruction by torpedoes, depth bombs, or gunfire.

(b) Improvement of equipment of patrols and shore stations, which resulted in certain areas being practically freed of enemy submarines.

(c) Addition of listening devices to allied submarines to act as “ears” while totally submerged, thereby increasing their underwater operations.

(d) Demoralizing effect on enemy submarines, due to their knowledge of the existence of improved detection apparatus on allied craft.


(e) Use in convoys in locating the position of several units.

(f) Avoiding collisions between allied craft in thick weather.

It is not necessary to discuss in detail the advantages of the antisubmarine devices as outlined in the foregoing list, as the points are self-evident. However, it might be well to speak briefly of the advantages given the allied submarines by the installation of sound detectors. Previous to their use, a submarine which was submerged below periscope depth was completely ignorant of the activities of surface craft and other submarines.

Almost without exception, the commanding officers of submarines welcomed the addition of sound-detection apparatus with great enthusiasm. It supplemented the use of the periscope while on the surface and enabled them, while submerged, to detect the presence of any near-by surface craft or other submarines when making sufficient noise to be heard. This naturally led to the avoidance of collisions as well as to the detection and hunting of enemy submarines.

There are several cases on record of destroyers and chasers being saved from collision in foggy weather and at night by virtue of the sound being picked up on the listening devices in time to change the course and avert a collision.

It is very difficult to determine the exact number of enemy submarines which were destroyed through the use of the detection apparatus, in recognizing the presence of the submarine and giving the bearings which allowed a successful pursuit to the spot, when torpedoes or depth bomb could effect a sinking. In many cases, the submarine was sighted on the surface and pursued until it submerged, when the listening gear took up the chase and located it.

It has been unofficially estimated by those in a position to form such an estimate that the destruction of six, and possibly seven, enemy submarines was due to the use of American antisubmarine devices. The economic value of the sinking of six or seven submarines can best be realized by referring to an estimate made of the amount of shipping sunk in a year by one submarine. It is estimated that for each enemy submarine destroyed there was saved annually to the allied powers 10,000 tons of shipping, representing an annual saving of approximately $150,000,000. The sinking of six or seven submarines would, therefore, represent an annual saving of, roughly, $1,000,000,000.

Viewing these results from a purely economic standpoint, this annual saving of $1,000,000,000, in contrast with approximately $2,000,000, or two-tenths of 1 per cent, expended for research and development work upon the problem, gave considerable satisfaction to those contributing to the activities of submarine detection.



It will be appreciated that the maintenance in efficient operating condition of the machinery of such a large fleet as was assembled, both on our coasts and in European waters, composed as it was of “all sorts and conditions” of machinery, was a task of no small magnitude. For successful accomplishment, it demanded the most intimate knowledge of the principal details of design, so that if any weakness or casualty occurred the means for promptly meeting the situation would be at hand. For instance, it meant that there should be available propellers or propeller blades to replace those damaged or lost; boiler tubes, condenser tubes, and shafting to fit any ship; steam pumps, forced-draft fans, electric generators, radio apparatus, and storage batteries for every auxiliary service and for submarines. When the number and the size of the various installations are considered, it will be seen that the work of so organizing the divisions of the Bureau as to insure that provision would be made for meeting all these demands was a matter of much painstaking labor and perseverance. Of slightly less importance was the provision of a suitable stock of these engineering supplies which were peculiar to one ship or to a particular class of ships.

When, the war began, we had a Navy of about 350 vessels of all classes—in commission, in reserve, or building. So rapidly did the fleet grow that on June 30, 1918, there were either in service or soon to be commissioned 1,959 vessels. This total comprised 570 of the regular Navy, 93 drawn from the service of other Government departments, 937 merchant ships converted to use as troop transports, naval auxiliaries, or patrol vessels, and 359 built by the Emergency Fleet Corporation for the Naval Overseas Transportation Service.

The preparation of the existing fleet called for comparatively little work, for it has always been our pride that our ships were ready. The battleships of the active fleet needed little work. Fortunately, those of the reserve fleet had been kept in good condition and few repairs were needed to put the machinery in the best condition that was possible considering the age and previous service of the individual ships. A fire-control system for them was developed and installed. Two battleships, the Virginia and the Georgia were having new boilers fitted, as was also the monitor Tonopah, and this work was rushed to completion as quickly as possible. The machin-


ery of the armored cruisers was in fairly good condition, but the ships were deficient in operating personnel which militated against their instant readiness. New engines were under construction for the scout cruiser Salem, but as rapid prosecution of work on them would have interfered with the destroyer program, which work was given priority, the completion of the Salem's engines was delayed longer than otherwise would have been the case.

The machinery of the destroyers was in very good condition. As is usual with them, a few were under overhaul and others had repairs in prospective. Those that had been assigned to service abroad were sent to their home yards immediately upon the declaration of war and given the finishing touches necessary to fit them for the arduous campaign ahead of them. The condition in which they arrived in the war zone is a source of pride to the Bureau and reflects credit upon their engineering personnel. The way in which their machinery withstood the long and continuous service which it had to perform bespeaks the excellence of its construction, as it also justifies the care that was given to its inspection.

To keep these vessels in the condition they were upon arrival required that there should be an ample supply of consumable stores and of spare parts. To accomplish this the greatest care was given to the preparation of lists of the necessary material and supplies before the sailing of the tenders Melville and Dixie. The British Admiralty had informed us that casualties to propellers were numerous, and we accordingly sent to Queenstown a large number of propellers in the Dixie. So also with boiler and condenser tubes and pumps—enough tubes to completely retube the boilers or condensers of any single destroyer.

Large orders were placed for shaft forgings, which for lack of storage facilities at Queenstown, and also on account of the value of eastbound cargo space, were retained at east coast navy yards until the necessity for using them arose. In only two eases was this required, and in each case the shafting, ready for installation, was delivered before the hull repairs were far enough advanced to permit its installation.

Another important undertaking that was entered into for the purpose of reducing the time that a destroyer might possibly be out of service was the construction of a set of boilers (4) of each of the four types in use in destroyers operating in the war zone. The work was assigned to four navy yards, and the value of it was shown when the boilers of one of the Queenstown destroyers needed retubing. As soon as the boilers were ready the vessels was ordered home, the old boilers renewed and the new ones installed in seven weeks, and the destroyer returned to service. A side light on this, illustrating the


desire of officers to remain near the scene of operations, was the insistence of the commanding officer upon keeping his vessel abroad and having the boilers shipped over for installation; but as they would occupy valuable cargo space, and would be subject to loss by submarine attack, it was decided to withdraw her temporarily and substitute another destroyer.

The one thing that more than anything else contributed to the “ever ready” condition of our destroyers in the war zone was the presence at Queenstown of the tenders Melville and Dixie. It seems fitting that the Melville should have played such a conspicuous part, as it was to the vision of one of my distinguished predecessors, Rear Admiral George W. Melville, for whom she was named, that our repair ship—and the first of any Navy—the Vulcan was equipped for similar service during the Spanish war. No job was too big for the Melville and the Dixie to undertake, and it was on account of their capability and the excellence of their work that our destroyers based at Queenstown spent so little time at a dockyard. Perhaps the best appreciation of their work is contained in the following encomium from Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly, R. N., who was in command at Queenstown:

Without these repair ships, the work could never have been done. Working full 24 hours, in three shifts of 8 hours each; sleeping among the noises of the machinery; always ready for extra work when an unexpected accident happened or an unforeseen call was made on a destroyer that was being dealt with, they never failed me. Capt. J. R. F. Pringle, of the Melville, and Capt. H. B. Price, of the Dixie, were not only ways ready to do the expected, but used their utmost endeavors to be prepared for the unforeseen, and the result was such as their country has reason to be proud of.

The organization at Queenstown was such as lent itself admirably to expeditious accomplishment of work, and this is exemplified by the fact that the boilers of a destroyer were completely retubed in place without interfering with her regular patrol and convoy duty. This was accomplished by working on one side of the boiler during the 5-day overhaul period, and allowing the vessel to operate between periods on three boilers until retubing was completed. Meanwhile, she was capable of making upward of 25 knots.

One excellent rule that prevailed was that as soon as a destroyer entered harbor and tied up to a buoy she was not to be called upon for any work that invoked the use of her boilers or engines. As a result of this, the customary overhaul by the ship’s force could proceed without interruption, and with assurance that if it should be necessary to change berth the service of a tug would be available.

The repair ships handled all work that was beyond the capacity of the destroyers themselves, but the repair officers were insistent that the latter do everything within their resources. It was in this


way that the destroyers were always ready and that the repair ships were also able to care for the work on shore which such an important base entailed.

Other repair ships, the Prometheus, the Panther, and the Bridgeport, were stationed at Brest, and the Buffalo at Gibraltar, and performed like service for the patrol vessels and destroyers operating from those ports. The Bridgeport did not arrive until late in the war, but did admirable work, especially in connection with the repair of transports and auxiliaries after the armistice. She was splendidly equipped.

Small repair shops were established at Brest, at Pauillac, and at Gibraltar, which assisted materially in keeping the small patrol vessels ready for operation.

As is stated in the chapter on repair of the damage to the ex-German ships, the repairs to the machinery of those that were used as troop transports were of quite as extensive character as was the actual work of remedying the damage caused by vandalism, this on account of the long period of idleness and lack of care of the machinery during that time. In many cases entire renewal of boiler tubes had to be undertaken, and in some material increase made in the distilling capacity. Besides this, all had to be provided with such electrical equipment as truck lights and controllers, blinker signal sets, man-overboard and breakdown lights, loud-speaking telephones, fire-control voice-tube and telephone systems, general-alarm gongs, revolution telegraphs, revolution indicators, and increased lighting equipment to suit the rearrangement for troop transport, as well as an auxiliary lighting system. All were provided with a suitable equipment of machine tools, for although their runs were, as before, between fixed ports, the demands on the repair facilities at Brest—which at best were none too good—were so great that reliance could not be placed on Brest for such work. In fact it not infrequently happened that these transports, by reason of their equipment, were able to assist in making repairs to other vessels.

For maintenance of the engines of submarine chasers a liberal supply of spare parts and of consumable material was made to the bases from which they operated abroad, as well as to the Hannibal and Leonidas, which were equipped as tender for them. The latter was stationed at Corfu and served the chasers which did such effective service in the Adriatic.

Many additions and alterations were required in all the merchant auxiliaries. Few of them were adequately provided with distilling apparatus, the service on which they were previously employed either not requiring it or only to a capacity sufficient to satisfy the marine insurance companies. Even before war was declared we had begun the installation of fire-control voice tubes and telephones on mer-


chant ships that carried armed guards, and this was continued with all auxiliary vessels as rapidly as they were taken over. All had to be provided with screened speed lights, and the patrol vessels generally with searchlights.

The vessels of the Coast Guard, the Lighthouse Service, the Coast and Geodetic Survey, and the Fish Commission required the usual repairs and, in addition, special equipment and fittings to make them suited to the duty to which they were assigned.

With the increase in the number of destroyers and submarines, it became necessary to prepare other vessels to serve as tenders. The work on the Bridgeport and Buffalo, which were designated destroyer tenders, was completed in time for them to render efficient service, but work on the Beaver, Camden, Prairie, and Rainbow was not completed before the signing of the armistice.

The navy yards, of course, could not handle all the work of this character and also routine repair and upkeep. It therefore became necessary to utilize to the fullest the repair facilities of the several ports from which vessels operated. As New York was the principal port of embarkation of troops, as well as of shipment of supplies, a large portion of the work was accomplished by the private repair yards of that port. The facilities of Boston, Philadelphia, Norfolk, Newport News, and Charleston were also utilized as required. Commandants of navy yards and naval districts were authorized to make local contracts for the repair of patrol vessels. These were generally with firms whose facilities could not be utilized for the more important ships.

The following named officers were on duty in the Repair Division of the Bureau:

Commander W. A. Smead, U. S. Navy, in charge.

Lieut. Commander B. Bruce, U. S. Navy.

Lieut. Commander F. W. Osburn, U. S. Navy, retired.

Lieut. Commander H. F. D. Davis, U. S. Navy.

Capt. of Engineers F. E. Gagger, U. S. Coast Guard.

Capt. of Engineers F. E. Fitch, U. S. Coast Guard.

Capt. of Engineers C. J. Oden’dhal, U. S. Coast Guard.

Capt. of Engineers M. W. Torbet, U. S. Coast Guard.

Lieut. (T) A. C. Byrne, U. S. Navy.

Lieut. (T) J. P. Millen, U. S. Navy.

Lieut. (T) C. E. Veth. U. S. Navy.

Lieut. E. E. Fitch, U. S. Naval Reserve Force.

Lieut. F. S. M. Harris, U. S. Naval Reserve Force.

Lieut. W. E. Hubbard, U. S. Naval Reserve Force.

Lieut. (j. g.) R. T. Hass, U. S. Naval Reserve Force.

Lieut, (j. g.) H. B. Phillipps, U. S. Naval Reserve Force.



There was probably no other work undertaken by the Navy, unless it were the destroyer program, that compared in importance with the repair of the machinery of the German ships that were interned in our harbors at the outbreak of war. Many of them were first-class passenger steamers of large carrying capacity whose services would be invaluable as troop transports, while many others would be of incalculable value in the shipment of supplies. But when they were taken possession of on April C, 1917, it was discovered that their machinery had been so badly damaged as to preclude the possibility of utilizing their services for a year or 18 months, if the usual method of repair were resorted to. This, of course, could not be seriously considered. The tonnage of allied shipping had been greatly reduced through German submarine attack, and to win success in the war it was vital that these ships be put in condition for service with the least possible delay.

It will be recalled that the German Government had notified the United States Government that unrestricted submarine warfare would begin on February 1, 1917, and it is significant that documentary evidence secured on board one of these ships at New York in the shape of a memorandum by her chief engineer shows that the wrecking of her machinery had actually started January 31.

When first taken over, the ships were placed in the custody of the collectors of customs until such time as they could be transferred to the Shipping Board. In the case of the vessels at New York, the commandant detailed the engineer officer of the yard, Commander E. P. Jessop, to give technical advice to the collector until all the vessels were so transferred.

Commander Jessop states, in the Journal of the American Society of Naval Engineers, that two boards were appointed to examine the machinery, one appointed by the collector, composed of engineers of the Erie and New York Central Railroads, and the other by the Shipping Board. The latter board recommended renewal of all cylinders that were seriously damaged, which was in accord with prevailing practice and with the requirements of the marine underwriters, while the former, composed of engineers experienced in the


application of electric welding to iron castings, were convinced that renewal was not necessary and that all broken castings could be reclaimed. Great opposition was, however, shown to the use of electric welding by the representatives of the Shipping Board, and it was not until the larger vessels were transferred to the Navy Department in July, 1917, for conversion to troop transports that authority for the use of electric welding was given by that Department.

Previously to this, realizing that the operation of these particular ships would necessarily have to be placed in the hands of the Navy, the Bureau had kept in touch with the work that was proceeding on all the interned German ships at all navy yards and in the port of New York. Commander Jessop had, as early as May 12, 1917, informed the Bureau, in telephone conversation, that in his judgment nearly all the damaged cylinders could be saved by welding, and when in June it was practically settled that the passenger-carrying vessels would be transferred to the Navy, the Bureau detailed Capt. O. W. Koester to visit New York, confer with Rear Admiral Burd, industrial manager of the navy yard there, and with Commander Jessop, and make an inspection of the ships, in order that it might be in a position to estimate the extent of the damage and the time necessary to make the repairs. Upon his return Capt. Koester reported his concurrence in the judgment of the board of railway engineers and of Commander Jessop that electric welding would save all the broken cylinders. The Chief of Bureau then conferred with Rear Admiral Burd, who also expressed confidence in the ability of experienced welders to make successful repairs and thus avoid the great delay that would result if new cylinders were made. Instructions were then given to proceed with electric welding and to resort to mechanical patching only when welding was impracticable. The subsequent work on the part of the Bureau was placed under the immediate supervision of Capt. Koester, who cooperated in every way with the engineer officers of the several navy yards in the successful completion of this undertaking.

The order for the Navy to take over these ships was received in the Bureau July 11, 1917, and the industrial manager of the New York Navy Yard was immediately notified by telephone and directed to return yard workmen to the Vaterland, from which they had been withdrawn on account of friction with representatives of the Shipping Board. Similar instructions were sent to the Boston and to the Norfolk Navy Yards, and the former was directed to give consideration to the application of electric welding instead of mechanical patching, which was then being used on the three ships in that port.

The following list gives the names, original and rechristened, of all the vessels that were in our ports and in Cuban waters at the date of the declaration of war:


United States name. German name. Taken over and repaired at— Gross tonnage. Horsepower.
Actaeon Adamstrum New York 5,000 2,900
Adelheid Adelheid Cuba 2,870 ---- 
Aeolus Grosser Kurfurst New York 13,102 8,400
Agamemnon Kaiser Wilhelm II do  19,361 45,000
America Amerika Boston 22,621 15,800
Amphion Koln do  7,409 3,560
Andalusia Andalusia Manila 5,171 2,980
Antigone Neekar Norfolk 9,835 5,500
Appelles Elsass Pago Pago, Samoa 6,591 3,900
Arcadia Arcadia Newport News 5,454 2,980
Armenia Armenia New York 5,456 2,980
Artemis Bohemia do  8,414 7,340
Artigas Wiegand Cebu 4,990 ---- 
Ascutney Pisa New York 4,967 4,858
Astoria Frieda Leonhardt Jacksonville 2,789 2,492
Bath Andromeda New Orleans 2,554 2,357
Bavaria Bavaria Cuba 3,898 2,500
Beaufort Rudolf Blumberg Pensacola 1,769 1,364
Black Hawk Rheatia Philadelphia 6,599 3,495
Bridgeport Breslau New Orleans 7,524 4,479
Calabria Calabria St. Thomas, Virgin Islands 3,004 2,736
Camden Kiel Charleston 4,494 4,967
Casco Elmshorn Manila 4,594 2,800
Chattahoochee Sachsen do  8,232 4,000
Constantia Constantia New Orleans 3,026 2,727
Corsa Loongmoon Honolulu 1,971 1,770
Cormorant1 Cormorant Guam (1) (1)
Covington Cincinnati Boston 16,339 10,900
De Kalb Prinz Eitel Friedrich Philadelphia 7,889 7,000
Farn Geraux Farn Geraux San Juan 4,393 3,216
General Ernst Sachsenwald Colon 3,559 2,130
General Goethals Gruenwald do  4,707 3,612
General Hodges Savoia do  6,214 3,260
General Gorgas Prinz Sigismund do  4,689 2,900
George Washington George Washington New York 25,570 21,000
Gulfport Loeksun Pearl Harbor 1,657 1,220
Hercules Bulgaria Norfolk 11,440 5,500
Hermes Hermes Honolulu 148 (2)
Houston Liebenfels Charleston 4,525 3,402
Huron Friedrich der Grosse New York 10,771 6,800
Iosco Johanne Manila 1,531 1,174
Iroquois Wittekind Boston 5,640 4,641
Isonomia Nassovia New York 3,902 2,474
Itasca Netos Honolulu 4, 730 2,730
Kittery Praesident Philadelphia 1,849 1,800
Leviathan Vaterland New York 54,282 90,000
Long Beach Hohenfelde Savannah 2,974 1,750
Madawaska Koenig Wilhelm II New York 9,110 7,400
Mercury Barbarossa do  10,984 7,200
Minnow Neptune Oakland, Calif 197 (2)
Maccasin Prinz Joachim New York 4,760 3,450
Montpelier Bochum Manila 6,161 3,052
Monongahela Dalbek Portland 2,723 (3)
Montauk Matador New York 1,468 (3)
Monticello O. J. D. Ahlers Hilo 7,490 2,052
Moshulu Kurt Portland, Oreg. 3,109 (3)
Mount Vernon Kronprinzessin Cecilie Boston 19,503 45,000
Muscoota Ottawa San Francisco 2,659 (3)
Nansemond Pennsylvania New York 13,333 6,276
Neuse Magdeburg do  4,496 3,130
Newport News Odenwald San Juan 3, .537 2,730
Nipsic Borneo Zamboanga 2,168 1,170
Oconee Maia New York 2,555 1,626
Olivant Olivant Cuba 4,014 1,660
Orion Prinz Oskar Philadelphia 6,026 3,630
Osage Serapis San Francisco 4,756 2,599
Ostego Prinz Eifel Friedrich New York 4,650 2,880
Owaseo Allemania do  4,630 3,400
Pawnee Harburg do  4,472 3,150
Pensacola Nicaria Charleston 3,974 2,100
Pequot Ockenfels Boston 5,621 3,600
Pocahontas Prinzess Irene New York 10,893 9,000
Powhatan   do  10,893 9,000
Princess Matoika4 Princess Alice Cebu 10,981 9,000
President Lincoln President Lincoln New York 18,168 8,500
President Grant President Grant do  18,972 8,500
Quantico Lyeemoon Manila 1,925 1,500
Quincy Vogesen Pensacola 3,716 1,855
Quinnebaug Pongtong Manila 1,631 938
Rajah Rajah do 2,028 1,085
Rappahannock Pommern Honolulu 6,557 3,885

1 Blown up by own crew.

2 Gas engine.

3 Sailing ship.

4 Repaired at Cavite and New York.


United States name. German name. Taken over and repaired at— Gross tonnage. Horsepower.
Raritan Carl Diederichsen Manila 1,243 135
Sachem Coblenz do  3,130 2,000
Samoa Staatssekretär Solf Samoa 304 125
Savannah Saxonia Winslow, Wash 4,424 2,500
Seneca Tubingen Manila 5,586 3,330
Schurz (gunboat) Geier Honolulu 1,630  
Susquehanna Rhein Norfolk 10,058 9,520
Suwanee Mark Manila 6,579 3,850
Tacony Staat. Kraetke Honolulu 2,009 2,660
Tonawanda Indra New York 1,746 (3)
Ticonderoga Camilla Rickmers Manila 5,130 2,800
Tippecanoe Holsatia Honolulu 5,644 2,800
Tioga Clara Jobson Manila 1,735 1,260
Tunica Sambia do 4,765 2,520
Von Steuben Kronprinz Wilhelm Philadelphia 14,908 31,500
Wachusett Suevia Manila 3,789 1,900
Wacouta Prinz Waldemar Honolulu 3,227 2,200
Wamsutta Dorvel Zamboanga 1,508 1,225
Wasgenwold Wasgenwold St. Thomas, Virgin Islands 4,708 3,612
Watoga Goveneur Jaeschke Honolulu 1,738 1,440
Wyandotte Willehad New Orleans 4,761 1,640
Yazoo Marudu Zamboanga 1.514 1,225
Yadkin Clara Mennig Manila 1,685 910
Yucca Portonia New York 2,778 1,260
Yuma Tain Tau Cebu 1,635 920

3 Sailing ship.

In addition to the German merchant vessels and gunboat given in the list above, the following Austrian merchant steamers were later seized similarly and refitted for United States service:

United States name. Austrian name. Taken over at— Gross tonnage. Horsepower.
Anna Anna New Orleans 1,575 1,400
Dora Dora New York 7,037 2,590
Erny Erny Boston 6,515 2,590
Ida Ida ----  4,730 1.787
Martha Washington Martha Washington New York 8,312 6,940
Borneo Borneo Tampa 3,621 1,900
Nyanza Esslinger Manila 4,902 2,850
Teresa Teresa New Orleans 3,769 2,100

Tonnage of vessels seized.—The tonnage of the German merchant ships taken over is 592,195 gross tons, and that of the eight Austrian ships is 40,461, making a total of 632,656 gross tons of shipping placed under the United States flag from these two sources.

Ports where vessels were seized.—These vessels were taken over in various American ports throughout the world, such as Boston; New York; Philadelphia; Baltimore; Norfolk; Charleston; Savannah; Pensacola; Jacksonville; New Orleans; St. Thomas, Virgin Islands; San Juan, P. R.; Colon; San Francisco and Oakland, Calif.; Portland and Clifton, Oreg.; Winslow, Wash.; Honolulu, Pearl Harbor, and Hilo, Hawaii; Pago Pago, Samoa; and Manila, Cebu, and Zamboanga, P. I. In addition, ships seized in Cuban ports were delivered to our Government. The wide distribution of these seizures is noted to show the extent to which German sea-borne commerce with our ports had grown.


Vandalism prearranged and simultaneous on all ships.—The machinery of practically all of these vessels was damaged by their crews for the very evident purpose of placing them out of service during a period of at least a year or 18 months. From the general nature of the vandalism thus perpetrated—the same parts being broken or otherwise damaged on practically all of the ships, no matter in what ports they were—it is clear that the order for this destructive work must have been given by high authority and sent out broadcast and simultaneously to all German vessels interned in United States ports. And yet a close analysis indicates that the instructions to vessels in Atlantic ports may have differed from those in Pacific ports. In the case of the former the vandalism was confined almost entirely to injury to the cylinders and valve chests, to destruction of throttle valves and engine valves, the breaking of circulating pump casings, and in general to injury to iron castings, and only in rare cases to injury to boilers, none of those in the large ships being damaged at all. In the Pacific, however, it was unusual to find boilers that had not been dry fired, and in such cases the extent of injury to the engines was far less in extent than was the case with vessels in Atlantic ports.

The extent to which the attempted wrecking of the machinery of these ships was carried may be indicated by a few examples, as follows:

America (ex-Amerika).—Both high-pressure cylinders broken; one low-pressure cylinder head broken : two low-pressure piston rods bent; other minor damages.

Astoria (ex-Frieda Leonhardt).—High-pressure piston rod and throttle missing. All receiver flanges, low-pressure cylinder head, high-pressure steam nozzle, high-pressure receiver pipe, low-pressure receiver pipe, exhaust trunk and steam gauges broken. Hole cut in shell, both boilers. Hole cut in outboard furnace, both boilers. Both boilers dry-fired, back end of tubes and stay-bolt nuts badly burned; seams, rivets, and tube leaking. Stop-valve bonnets missing. Water column destroyed.

Bath (ex-Andromeda).—Intermediate-pressure and low-pressure cylinder liners broken; high-pressure piston, valve, rings, follower, etc., missing; low-pressure piston valve, rings, and packing missing; low-pressure valve stem missing.

Camden (ex-Kiel).—Throttle missing; low-pressure cylinder, first intermediate-pressure valve, second intermediate-pressure valve, and low-pressure valve broken. All steam pipes cut at the flanges. All boilers fittings smashed. All valve stems of double bottom manifolds bent. Engine telegraphs damaged.

George Washington (ex-George Washington).—High-pressure cylinder, first low-pressure valve chest, low-pressure steam nozzle.


low-pressure valve chest. of both engines broken; also both circulating pump casings.

Madawaska (ex-Koenig Wilhelm II).—On both engines, main-engine stop valves broken; high-pressure, first intermediate-pressure, second intermediate-pressure cylinders broken; valve chest broken.

Mercury (ex-Barbarossa).—Following parts broken on both engines : High-pressure cylinder heads and flanges; first intermediate-pressure cylinder head and flanges, first intermediate-pressure cylinder, second intermediate-pressure steam nozzle, low-pressure cylinder, circulating pump casings.

Quincy (ex-Vogensen).—Boiler stays and stay bolts sawed through; connecting rods sawed half through; piston rods sawed half through. Other cases of vandalism, but of minor character.

Damage of much moment to the great Vaterland, now the Leviathan, apparently proved to be beyond the capacity of her engineer force. Her machinery was, however, in bad order, owing to poor design, incompetent operation, and her long stay and lack of overhaul in port.

That the engineers of these German ships believed the damage they inflicted to be irreparable is shown by the frequent note "Cannot be repaired” in the following literal translation of a memorandum found by our officers on the Hamburg, now the Powhatan, summarizing the damages to the machinery of that vessel:

S. S. Hamburg
New York, January 31, 1917.

1. Starboard and port h. p. cylinder with valve chest; upper exhaust outlet flange broken off. (Can not be repaired.)

2. Starboard and port 1st m. p. cylinder with valve chest; upper exhaust outlet flange broken off. (Can not be repaired.)

3. Starboard and part 2d in. p. valve chest; steam inlet flange broken off. (Can not be repaired.)

4. Valve chest cover damaged; balance cylinder broken. (Can not be repaired.)

5. Four (4) relief valves from second m. p. destroyed.

6. Starboard 2d m. p. piston guide rod damaged. (Can not be repaired.)

7. Port 2d m. p. stuffing box gland of piston rod guide destroyed.

8. Starboard and port low-pressure valve chests; steam inlet flanges broken off. (Can not be repaired.)

9. Valve chest cover damaged. Balance cylinder broken. (Can not be repaired.)

10. Two (2) relief valves destroyed.

11. Port low-pressure stuffing box gland of the piston rod guide destroyed.

12. Port and starboard main engine stop valve, with bypass valves, and reversing engine valves destroyed.

13. Low-pressure relief valves and two guides of valve stem destroyed.

14. Port and starboard exhaust nozzles (outlets) from high pressure to first m. p. three (3) flanges broken off, two (2) relief valves destroyed.



15. First m. p. starboard; exhaust pipe exhaust line to 2d m. p. flange broken off. (Can not be repaired.)

16. Guide of the valve stem, relief valve on cylinder destroyed.

17. First m. p. port; exhaust pipe of exhaust line to 2d m. p. flange broken off. (Can not he repaired.)

18. Exhaust line to 2d m. p. damaged, guide on valve stem and relief valve destroyed.

19. Starboard and port low-pressure exhaust pipe damaged. (Can not be repaired.)

The seeming complacency with which the Germans regarded the effectiveness of their work is also indicated in an entry made four weeks later in the log of the Prinz Eitel Friedrich (De Kalb), which was interned at the Philadelphia Navy Yard. It follows:

After the work done to-day, the condition of the cylinders of both engines is such that there is no possibility whatever of starting them.

And yet the damage on the Prinz Eitel was far less in extent and much more easily corrected than that on any other of the large ships.

The illustrations indicate clearly the typical character of the damage and the general method of repair by electric welding. This method consisted in general of welding to each surface of cast iron a layer of steel, thoroughly calked down to insure that a good union has been made, and then welding these layers of steel to a cast-steel filling piece fashioned to fill as nearly as possible the intervening space. It will be noted that the iron casting is studded and the welding metal carried over beyond the studs. While it is stated that this is done merely as a precaution and to insure that the strength of the weld be not less than that of the part to be welded, the presence of the studs does no harm, and, whether necessary or not, they, at least, have not militated against the integrity of any weld that was made.

Importance of rapid repairs.—The Navy Department speedily recognized that the large passenger ships thus taken over must be our chief reliance in transporting our troops to France, and that their quick repair was a matter of the greatest national importance. In fact, as the following table shows, 20 of these vessels—transferred to and repaired by the Navy—were capable of transporting an aggregate of about 70,000 troops in one trip:

Leviathan (ex-Vaterland) 10,000
George Washington (ex-George Washington) 6,000
America (ex-Amerika) 4,100
Agamemnon (ex-Kaiser Wilhelm II) 3,500
Mt. Vernon (ex-Kronprinzessin Cecilie) 3,600
President Lincoln (ex-President Lincoln) 4,900
President Grant (ex-President Grant) 4,900
Covington (ex-Cincinnati) 3,800
Aeolus (ex-Grosser Kurfurst) 2,800
Mercury (ex-Barbarossa) 2,700
Pocahontas (ex-Princess Irene) 2,600
Princess Matoika (ex-Prinzess Alice) 3,700


Huron (ex-Friedrich der Grosse) 2,600
Powhatan (ex-Hamburg) 2,300
Susquehanna (ex-Rhein) 2,300
Antigone (ex-Neckar) 2,300
De Kalb (ex-Prinz Eitel Friedrich) 1,000
Von Steuben (ex-Kronprinz Wilhelm) 1,300
Madawaska (ex-Koenig Wilhelm II) 2,800
Martha Washington (ex-Martha Washington, Austrian) 2,700
Total 69,900

Ships repaired by the Navy.—In addition to the 20 transports noted above, the following ex-German vessels were transferred to the Navy for repairs and conversion into Navy auxiliaries:

Present name. Former name. Where repaired and fitted out. Duty.
Astoria Frieda Leonhardt Charleston Navy auxiliary.
Bath Andromeda New Orleans Do.
Beaufort Rudolf Blumherg do Do.
Bridgeport Breslau New Orleans and Boston Repair ship.
Camden Kiel Charleston and Philadelphia Do.
Gulfport Locksun Pearl Harbor Navy auxiliary.
Hermes Hermes do Do.
Houston Liebenfels Charleston Do.
Kittery Praesident Philadelphia Do.
Long Beach Hohenfelde Charleston Do.
Newport News Odenwald Philadelphia Do.
Pensacola Nicaria Charleston Do.
Quincy Vogensen Pensacola and New Orleans Do.
Samoa Staatssekretär Solf Samoa Do.
Savannah Saxonia Puget Sound Repair ship.
Schurz Geier Pearl Harbor Gunboat.

Also the Navy repaired and fitted out for the United States Shipping Board Emergency Fleet Corporation the following ex-German ships:

Present name. Former name. Where repaired and fitted out.
Adelheid Adelheid New Orleans (received from Cuba).
Appeles Elsass Mare Island.
Bavaria Bavaria New Orleans (received from Cuba).
Chattahoochee Sachsen Olongapo and Puget Sound.
Constantia Constantia New Orleans (received from Cuba).
Itasca Setos Mare Island.
Nyanza Esslinger Cavite.
Olivant Olivant New Orleans (received from Cuba).
Philippines Bulgaria Norfolk.
Quantico Lyeemoon Olongapo.
Rajah Rajah Mare Island.
Rappahannock Pommern Do.
Raritan Carl Diederichsen Olongapo.
Suwanee Mark Do.
Tacony Staatssekretär Kraetke Pearl Harbor and Mare Island.
Teresa (Austrian) Teresa New Orleans and Norfolk.
Ticonderoga Camilla Rickmers Olongapo.
Tippecanoe Holsatia Mare Island.
Tunica Cambria Olongapo, Cavite, and Mare Island.
Wacouta Prinz Waldemar Puget Sound.

In considering the repair and refit of these ex-German ships, it should lie borne in mind that the engines had not only been damaged, but that normally they should have been in poor condition, since the ships had been laid up in various American ports for three years, with very inadequate upkeep during that period. Hence deterioration as well as damage had to be corrected; and as no draw


ings or plans of any kind were available, the actual time taken in getting the ships ready for service was consumed less in repairing vandalism than in general overhaul and in conversion to the special service they were to perform.

One condition which, next to welding, contributed most to the rapidity with which the work was done was that the Navy Department, upon the recommendation of this Bureau to the Chief of Naval Operations, put the ships in commission as soon as they were taken over. In this way not only did the crews become familiar with the ships, but they also assisted materially in the detection of vandalism and in the rapid preparation of the ships for service.

Upon completion of this work of repair and overhaul every important piece of machinery, boilers, and other equipment was submitted to the original design tests under the supervision of the ship’s officers. Then the customary dock trials were held, and finally, before the ships were pronounced ready to engage in the responsible work of transporting troops, they were taken to sea and subjected to a continuous full-power test of 48 hours’ duration. The purpose of this was to test the effectiveness of the unusual repairs that had been undertaken to determine whether any important operating feature had been overlooked, and finally to familiarize the crew with the handling of the ship and the operation of the machinery. So well had the work been done and so satisfactorily had the engines operated that upon completion of the sea trial the transports usually proceeded to the point of embarkation of troops to begin a service which was epoch making in our national history.

The military value of this work in the transport of troops is particularly interesting. The last of these ships was in service for nearly a year before hostilities ceased, and this represents approximately the time saved by the use of welding methods. They alone transported nearly 600,000 troops to France, the Leviathan heading the list with upward of 94,000. But for them the Allies would have been seriously embarrassed.

The total number of troops transported by each ship is given below:

Ships. Total trips. Total troops
Aeolus 8 24,549
Agamemnon 10 35,392
America 9 39,078
Antigone 8 16,470
Covington1 5 1/2 21,755
De Kalb 14 9,779
George Washington 9 40,410
Huron 8 20,771
Leviathan 10 94,199
Madawaska 9 18,931
Martha Washington 8 21,902
Mercury 7 18,292
Mount Vernon 9 33,028
Princess Matoika 6 21,429
Powhatan 7 11,547
Pocahontas. 9 22, 579
President Grant 8 39, 422
President Lincoln1 4 1/2 23, 139
Susquehanna 8 18,391
Von Steuben 9 15,929
Total   557,537


1 Torpedoed on return voyage.


The throwing into France of 500,000 United States troops a year ahead of the time estimated by the Germans for their arrival had unquestionably a most important effect on the shortening of the war. It was these ships which enabled this huge force to reach France early and be trained at the front, so that they might be ready to do their share in turning the tide of war.

The financial aspect of the matter is minor. It has been estimated, however, that if used wholly as freight carriers, these ex-German ships would have effected an economy of more than $20,000,000.

The Rhein, the Neckar, the Bulgaria (renamed the Susquehanna), the Antigone, and the Hercules were repaired at the Norfolk Navy Yard. The damage to their engines was similar to that of the other ships, but in this case repair was made for the greater part by oxy-acetylene welding, only a few welds having been made by the electric method. In the case of oxy-acetylene welding it was, of course, necessary to remove the cylinders from the ship in order to heat them to the temperature necessary to secure a good weld, and while the use of this process added greatly to the expense and the time necessary for making repairs, the welds that were so made have proved equally as reliable as those done by the electric arc.

In what has preceded, the reference is chiefly to the reciprocating engined ships, which comprehends all except the Leviathan (ex-Vaterland), the most powerfully engined merchant ship afloat. She was the only turbine vessel of the German fleet that fell into our hands, and her prospective value as a troop transport transcended that of any other of this big fleet, not only on account of her speed but because of her passenger capacity. Her boilers were uninjured, and while damage was in evidence in her turbines, it was not clear that this was the result of vandalism; it was of such a character as might have been charged to an accident of operation. Several rows of blading had to be renewed, and some rows were cut out altogether. Cracks were also found in the casing of one of the backing turbines, and these were welded.

There were many minor evidences of vandalism, all of which were disclosed by the thorough examination that was made of every portion of this superb ship, and it is greatly to the credit of those concerned in the work on her, as well as on all the others, that not a single case of vandalism was undiscovered.

Secretary Daniels in commenting on this work in his annual report for 1918, says:

This decision (to use welding), so far-reaching in its application and so fraught with danger to the professional reputation of the officers concerned, was made in the face of opposition by engine builders and by marine insurance companies, but with such confidence in the ultimate result as left no room for doubt of its success.



The electric welding was done by the Wilson Welder & Metals Co., New York City, and the oxy-acetylene welding by the Davis-Bournonville Co., Jersey City, N. J.

In addition to this work on German vessels that were interned in our ports, work of a similar character was done at the Philadelphia Navy Yard on the cylinders of the Santos (ex-Santos) which had been interned in Brazilian waters. She had been leased to the French Government, but the engine cylinders had been so badly wrecked that it was considered to be impossible to repair them in Rio, and the several parts were, therefore, shipped to Philadelphia where the work of repair was undertaken and completed in time for installation after the vessel reached that port in tow.

Another vessel, the Itu (ex-Cap Roca) which had been similarly transferred to the French, had extensive boiler work, the result of vandalism, undertaken at New York under the direction of the industrial manager of the navy yard.




During the war, the functions of the Radio Division covered the maintenance of the transoceanic high-power radio systems, of the radio navigational stations, and of the coastal ship and shore radio stations. It included also the design, installation, and upkeep of all radio apparatus on naval vessels, on those of the Shipping Board, and, in fact, on all vessels and aircraft operated by the Government, except those owned by the Army. To these duties—almost worldwide in their scope—were added continuous and urgent research and development in all lines relating to radio apparatus.


The principal developments in radio apparatus by the Navy during the war were:

1. An increase in the efficiency of the transoceanic radio service, together with such a growth in the number of stations that radio must now be considered as a competitor of the ocean cables.

2. The development of the radio compass to aid in navigation, and also its installation for practical operation.

3. The development of radio equipment for aircraft from ranges of 100 miles to a range of 500 miles.

4. The concentration, with resultant conservation, of the radio personnel and radio facilities for all departments of the Government—except the Army, whose service was distinct—by placing all radio design and maintenance under the Navy. This system permitted an immense amount of work to be carried on effectively in connection with the design, purchase, installation, and upkeep of radio equipment for practically all Government and merchant vessels operating from ports in this country.

5. The taking over and maintenance for traffic use of all privately owned radio stations.

6. The establishment of repair facilities abroad at the various naval bases for installing and maintaining radio equipment at naval bases.

7. The installation of radio telephone equipment on all naval vessels and aircraft.


As a basis for carrying on the work noted above, the Bureau adopted the policy of using the available facilities and engineering personnel of existing firms, even though these facilities were at times inadequate. It was decided that such a system would be more advantageous than starting an entirely new company on the large scale necessary to meet the urgent requirements of war. This policy proved to be a sound one. There is no known case in which any vessel was delayed through failure to provide promptly a radio installation.

It is a pleasure to make acknowledgment of the hearty and thorough cooperation of the radio engineers in civil life and the various radio manufacturing companies, who gave their whole time to Government requirements during the war, and who carried out willingly every request and suggestion made by the Bureau.


In order fully to appreciate the recent developments in the art of high-power transmission it is desirable to review briefly its progress prior to the commencement of the war.

Historically, the first long-distance transmission by radio was effected in 1901 by Marconi between Newfoundland and Ireland; in 1908 he established a commercial radio service between Nova Scotia and Ireland. In 1911, the Federal Telegraph Co. started experiments, and in 1912 established a circuit between San Francisco and Honolulu, which was immediately opened to commercial service. At about this time the Navy Department had completed the installation of a large equipment at Arlington, Va., which communicated across the Atlantic, and a German company established a station at Sayville, Long Island, which communicated with Germany. In 1914 the American and English Marconi companies established stations in Hawaii, California, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, and also in England and Norway; and a German company opened a station at Tuckerton, N. J., for communication with Germany.

Until the beginning of the European war most of the high-power radio equipments in existence—other than those of the United States Navy—were of the “spark” or damped-wave type; the only exceptions to this being the installations of the Federal Telegraph Co. and of the foreign-owned company at Tuckerton, which were arc and alternator systems, respectively, or of the undamped-wave variety.

Prior to this period the advantages of the undamped equipment over the damped became very apparent, and the Navy. acting through the Bureau of Steam Engineering, adopted the arc system, the first station erected being at Arlington, Va., and followed by others at Darien, Canal Zone; San Diego, Calif.; Pearl Harbor,


Hawaii; and Cavite, P. I. These new naval radio stations were by far the largest ever erected and have been in successful operation since their completion, A large number of medium-powered stations were also built.

Conditions when the United States entered the War.—At the time of the entry of the United States into the world war the following large radio stations were in use:

U. S. Navy, for trans-Pacific work:

Cavite, P. I.

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii.

San Diego, Calif.

U. S. Navy, for trans-Atlantic work:

Arlington, Va.

U. S. Navy, for other work:

Darien, Canal Zone.

Private companies in United States:

Federal Telegraph Co., for trans-Pacific work—

Lents, Greg.

South San Francisco, Calif.

Heeia Point, Hawaii.

Marconi Co., for trans-Pacific work—

Bolinas, Calif.

Kahuku, Hawaii.

Marconi Co. for trans-Atlantic work—

New Brunswick, N. J.

German-owned station for trans-Atlantic work—

Sayville, Long Island.

Foreign-owned, other than German—

Tuckerton, N. J.

Upon the declaration of war, the Navy Department seized all of the above privately owned properties.

The stations in Europe capable of trans-Atlantic communication were: English, Carnarvon, Wales; Norwegian, Stavanger; German, Nauen; Eilvese.


Communications in the Atlantic.—In August, 1917, owing to the necessity for increased trans-Atlantic communication, a joint conference was arranged by the Bureau between representatives of the Navy Department, the War Department, and of members of the French Communication Service then in the United States. This conference was called at New London, since that was the point where experiments were being conducted by the Navy Department in connection with antistatic devices for receiving purposes.

During the conference, a plan was submitted by the Bureau which was subsequently adopted, concerning necessary developments for trans-Atlantic communications. The elements of the plan were as follows:



1. The establishment of three receiving stations along the Atlantic coast of the United States connected with Washington by leased wires.

2. The enlargement of and duplication of, equipment in existing high-power stations.

3. The erection of an additional station in the United States, so that a final plan of five transmitting stations might he fulfilled.

4. The provision of sleet-melting equipment for the various transmitting station antenna systems, in order to assure freedom from ice during the winter season.

5. The recommendations to the French representatives, for development in the allied countries, of the multiple sending and receiving station plan agreed upon for the United States.

6. The further recommendation that a superhigh-power station he erected abroad as an additional channel for trans-Atlantic communication.

The adoption of this plan led to the erection of the Annapolis station in the United States and the Lafayette station in France, as mentioned subsequently.

In order to increase the reliability of trans-Atlantic radio communication, the Bureau let contracts for the erection of a large station at Annapolis, Md., to be a duplicate of the Pearl Harbor station, with a power of 350 kilowatts. This installation was later increased to a size of about 500 kilowatts. The plant was to be equipped with four 600-foot towers. The Annapolis station was completed in September, 1918, and has been in continuous use since that time.

The construction of the Lafayette (Bordeaux) station was an imperative war measure, since enemy operations might cause failure of the trans-Atlantic cables. The tower foundations and buildings were to be furnished by the French Government. The project was started, and a working detachment of nearly 600 officers and enlisted men was sent to France. On the day of the armistice, practically all material had been delivered, and the towers and buildings were well under way. This plant, as finished, contains two 1,000-kilowatt arc transmitters and has an antenna system 1,320 by 5,280 feet supported by eight 820-foot self-supporting steel towers. The station has been completed by the Navy Department under contract with the Republic of France. It was tested in September, 1920.

In 1918, when it became evident that overseas communications might be interrupted by the attack of enemy submarines on the cable systems, steps were taken to erect on the Atlantic coast of the United States a station which would have sufficient power to insure communications with Europe at all times. The site selected was at Monroe, N. C., and on November 11, 1918, the project had been


developed to the point where all essential design work was complete, and contracts were ready to be awarded for the entire plant. The station was to have been equipped with four 500-kilowatt radio transmitters and four antenna systems, supported on a total of 20 000-foot self-supporting steel towers, each antenna being 5,000 feet long. This plant would have been from two to four times more powerful than any existing radio station. The project was, however, abandoned after the signing of the armistice.

The German-owned station at Sayville, Long Island, was turned over to the Navy Department by the Alien Property Custodian, and equipped with a 200-kilowatt arc transmitter and other improvements, which were ready for use in July, 1918. The foreign-owned station at Tuckerton, N. J., was supplied with a 100-kilowatt arc transmitter, and an additional boiler and generator, which equipment was required in order to insure reliable communication from that station.

The Bureau also had under construction at Cayey, P. R., a 200-kilowatt station.

The Marconi station at New Brunswick, N. J., was being provided with a new type of equipment when taken over by the Navy. A temporary installation was made in 1917, which rendered valuable service for trans-Atlantic work in the winter of 1917-18. In September, 1918, a permanent transmitter was installed and put in operation, which has been in almost continual use ever since. This is the best station operated by the Navy Department during the war.

During the year 1917, some communications with European stations were carried on by the Sayville and Tuckerton stations. Other communications were carried on at various times with the experimental equipment at New Brunswick. The severe winter of 1917-18 wrecked the antennas at nearly all of these stations, and up to July, 1918, the Tuckerton station constituted the main reliance. The French Government meanwhile established a new station at Nantes, France.

In July, 1918, the control of the American stations was moved from Belmar, N. J., to Washington, D. C., where it was centralized. At the date of the armistice, trans-Atlantic communications had become very well organized, and continuous transmission was carried on from Sayville, New Brunswick, Tuckerton, and Annapolis, in the United States; and in Europe from Carnarvon, England; Nantes and Lyon, France; Rome, Italy; and Nauen, Germany. The Nauen station was operated, of course, by the enemy, and all of its communications were intercepted in the United States.

Trans-Pacific communications.—The need for additional radio communication facilities in the Pacific was felt because of military



operations in Eastern Siberia, and consequently, at the request of the commander of the Asiatic Fleet, a former Russian station on Russian Island, Vladivostok, was occupied, and the Saturn detailed to transport the equipment and installation crew from San Francisco, Calif. The equipment was temporarily removed from the Heeia Point station, Hawaii, which station the Navy Department had meanwhile acquired from the Federal Telegraph Co. by purchase. The Vladivostok station when put in operation was of material assistance to our troops in Siberia.

A new equipment was installed in the Heeia Point station, Hawaii, and that plant is again in operation. Subsequent to the date of the armistice, commercial radio service was opened between the transpacific stations, and this service still continues.

Summary of chief results.—The period of the war has seen a rapid development toward higher powers in radio stations for long-distance communication. This higher power is required for reliability in communication, particularly when heavy “atmospherics" exist. From a military viewpoint, this requirement is absolute. Prior to February, 1917, 350 kilowatts in power was considered the upper limit. The Annapolis station of 500 kilowatts, however, represented a material increase. The Lafayette station has a further rise to 1,000 kilowatts, and the proposed Monroe station was designed for a total power of 2.000 kilowatts. The Navy is thus emerging from the war with a 1,000 kilowatt station to its credit, whereas, but for the war, 350 kilowatts would probably have been the upper limit.

The war period has also seen the complete abandonment of "spark” transmitters for long-distance communication. The development of “arc” transmitters has been rapid. The Federal Telegraph Co., of San Francisco, Calif., has been the only organization which has furnished equipment of this type. During the war, the General Electric Co. developed the most efficient type of high-power transmitter thus far produced, namely, the Alexanderson alternator with which the New Brunswick station is equipped.

Personnel.—Lieut. Commander George C. Sweet, U. S. Navy (retired), whose experience in high-power radio work had been extensive, was placed in direct charge of the radio work on the Annapolis and Lafayette stations, and in July, 1918, was ordered to France as commander of the radio detachment for the construction of the latter. It is due in no small measure to his efforts that work was well advanced when the armistice was signed. He was assisted by Lieut. A. M. Stevens, U. S. Naval Reserve Force. Upon Lieut. Commander Sweet’s return to the United States, the work was placed under the direction of Capt. A. St. C. Smith, U. S. Navy.

The design and erection of the towers of this station were under the direction of the Bureau of Yards and Docks.


Contractors.—The Bureau was given hearty support and assistance by the Federal Telegraph Co. and the General Electric Co. The former designed and installed the radio equipment at Sayville, Tuckerton, and Annapolis, and also designed the equipment for the Lafayette station. The latter, with the equipment of the New Brunswick station, made available to the Navy Department its best station during the war. Mr. Alexanderson, of the General Electric Co., also gave some assistance in the design of the proposed Monroe station.


In the early part of 1916 the desirability of having a means for ascertaining the location of radio transmitting stations became apparent to all persons having to do with the radio system of communication. Apparatus for this purpose had already been developed to some extent abroad, the system employed being known as the Bellini-Tosi system of radio direction finding. Its early operation was complicated and subject to many inaccuracies, which made it unsuitable for naval vessels.

With a view of improving apparatus for this purpose, Dr. F. A. Kolster, of the Bureau of Standards, made a study of the problem and discovered that a coil of wire wound on a rectangular frame mounted in such a way that it could be rotated was adapted for ascertaining the direction of radio waves. His experiments proved that a coil placed in a plane at right angles, to incoming radio waves is unaffected and current is not induced in the coil. Turning this coil through an arc of 90 degrees results in a maximum flow of current in its winding. He applied this principle to an instrument which was called the Kolstermeter. Its operation was simple, inasmuch as the only adjustment necessary was the regulation of the receiver to the proper tune for the incoming wave and then to rotate the coil and notice on the dial attached to the shaft the number of degrees displacement of the coil from a true north and south line. The coil system was adopted by the Navy, on account of its simplicity of operation and accuracy within prescribed limits, after exhaustive tests and comparisons had been made with it and the Bellini-Tosi apparatus then manufactured.

The Bureau secured the exclusive rights to the patents from Dr. Kolster for a period of two years in order to keep it confidential, and the Philadelphia Navy Yard was authorized, about the middle of 1916, to proceed with the manufacture of 30 Kolstermeters of the coil type. The principle and details of the apparatus were kept closely guarded. As one of the precautions, the name was changed from Kolstermeter, by which it had become known, to that of “radio compass.” Experiments were begun at the same time at the Pensacola



and Philadelphia Navy Yards with a view to developing this compass for use in connection with the navigation of aircraft.

Such success was obtained with the experimental apparatus first installed at the Philadelphia radio station that in November, 1910, the Director of Naval Communications requested that the apparatus remain as a permanent installation in order to locate unneutral radio stations. As other sets were completed they were installed on vessels of the Atlantic Fleet.

The value of the radio compass in locating enemy craft and making contact with convoys during thick weather was demonstrated on numerous occasions. As an example of the assistance given in such cases the following quotation, “Extract from War Diary, 11 November, 1918,” may be cited:

The commanding officer Benham Has reported concerning an instance of the successful use of the radio compass on that vessel when Benham gave a bearing from convoy to Parker, which had been unable to regain a lost contact. Parker set her course by the bearing given and rejoined the convoy without difficulty.

The apparatus placed upon the first vessels was of a more or less unwieldy type, but further experiments and development resulted in the design of a more compact coil, suitable for installation on destroyers and smaller vessels.

The early installation of the radio compass apparatus brought out the fact that incoming radio waves received from a distant ship or shore station are distorted by surrounding metallic objects or wires and that it was necessary to calibrate the compass for these errors. This work was assigned to the navy yard at Boston, and was done principally at Newport, in order that the ships might be calibrated when they went to that place to receive a supply of torpedoes.

This work was considered of such importance that an officer, Ensign Bowden Washington, U. S. Naval Deserve Force, was detailed to the Boston Navy Yard to supervise radio compass calibration and installation, with orders to travel to any yard or station on the Atlantic coast. The work grew so rapidly that other officers of the reserve had to be detailed to assist.

For vessels in foreign waters complete installations were shipped to Queenstown, Ireland, where they were installed under the supervision of Lieut. A. Forbes, U. S. Naval Reserve Force.

In June, 1918, sites were selected for radio compass shore stations and preparations were made for their equipment, but the necessity for concentrating the available employees on ship installation work prevented any of these stations from being finished before the signing of the armistice, though the most important ones—for Boston, New York, Delaware Bay, Chesapeake Bay, and Charleston—to which troopships returned, were completed shortly thereafter, the


ones for New York in time to furnish bearings to our battleships on their return December 26, 1918. The sites for these stations were so selected that three stations would cooperate to furnish cross bearings.

Example of triangulation from Hog Island, Smith Island, and Cape Henry Radio Compass Stations.
Example of triangulation from Hog Island, Smith Island, and Cape Henry Radio Compass Stations.

Data of much practical value have been obtained by the establishment of these stations and there is no doubt that they are destined to become a most important aid to navigation.


Prewar work.—Prior to the war, the radiotelephone activities of the Navy Department had included the long-distance experiments carried out at Arlington in conjunction with the Western Electric


Co. In these experiments, telephone conversations were held with Darien, Canal Zone, 2,100 miles away, and with Mare Island on the Pacific coast, a distance of 2,500 miles. Speech was also transmitted to Paris, 3,600 miles distant, and to Honolulu, 6,000 miles.

Tests had also been made between Arlington station and the New Hampshire. In these experiments, conversations were conducted by remote control between the Navy Department, Washington, and the battleship while she was 50 miles off Cape Henry. Similar conversation also took place between this ship and the Great Lakes naval station. In this case, the communication was carried from Washington to the Great Lakes station over the long-distance telephone lines.

The possibilities of the radiotelephone for naval uses had been realized by the Bureau and arrangements had been made with the Western Electric Co. for that organization to develop an equipment suitable for standard installations on battleships. The first two of these sets were placed on the Arkansas and Florida in February, 1916, and a satisfactory two-way conversation was held over a distance of 30 miles. Other sets, designed by the Western Electric Co., were installed on the Pennsylvania, Wyoming, and Seattle. These latter sets were capable of multiplex operation, so that nine conversations could be carried on and three wave lengths utilized.

War activities.—The first radiotelephone equipment constructed for war purposes was built by the Western Electric Co., in March, 1917. It comprised 15 experimental sets for possible use on submarine chasers. These sets were of the continuous-wave, vacuum-tube type, and were intended primarily for telegraphic communication, but were equipped also with telephone and modulating attachments.

These sets were soon replaced by a highly improved type which consisted essentially of a complete telephone transmitter and receiver, arranged to operate on wave lengths from 200 to 600 meters, with a normal operating distance between vessels of 10 nautical miles. It was provided with an extension designed originally for the pilot house of submarine chasers. The installation is shown in figure 1. During the war, approximately 1,000 of these sets were placed on submarine chasers, destroyers, and battleships, and were of inestimable value in the antisubmarine campaign.

One of the most important developments in radiotelephony during the war was the installation of a 200-kilowatt high-frequency alternator of the Alexanderson type at the former Marconi station, New Brunswick, N. J., and the adaptation of apparatus to this equipment to permit its use as a long-distance telephone transmitter. This alternator is shown in figure 2. It is of historic interest that this transmitter was used to direct the first message to Germany after our entry into the war.


For operation with the New Brunswick station, the George Washington was equipped with a radiotelephone transmitter of the vacuum-tube type, whose controls are illustrated in figure 3. In the extreme lower section of the panel shown, there are located the smaller vacuum tubes for amplifying the feeble electrical currents from the microphone transmitter, together with auxiliary apparatus. The power is obtained from the ship’s direct-current mains. The high voltage for the plate circuits of the vacuum tubes and the low voltage for the filaments are supplied from motor generator sets. The receiving apparatus is shown in figure 4; it is operated from a separate antenna. “Two-way,” or duplex, operation with this system has been entirely satisfactory. The entire transmitting and receiving equipment was developed and manufactured by the General Electric Co., working in cooperation with Lieut. (j.g.) W. Lemmon, United States Naval Force, of the Bureau of Steam Engineering.

Numerous telephone tests were made between the George Washington and the station at New Brunswick throughout a period of three months. To supervise these tests, Lieut. Lemmon was assigned to the ship as representative of the Bureau, and Messrs. J. H. Payne and H. H. Beverage as technical representatives of the General Electric Co.

Telephone conversation from New Brunswick was heard by the George Washington while lying in the harbor of Brest, a distance of 3,200 miles, and conversation was carried on both ways while the ship was still 1,300 miles at sea. The New Brunswick station transmits on 13,000 meters and the George Washington on 1,800 meters.

This radiotelephone system also enabled the President and various officials traveling on the George Washington, to keep in touch with our shores. To effect this, New Brunswick’s radiotelephone was connected up to land wires, so that direct conversation with Washington and other points could be had at sea.

In one case, Secretary Daniels spoke from the Navy Department to President Wilson while the ship was 400 miles from our coast. Figure 5 gives a photographic representation of the variation of modulation and antenna currents in this conversation. Secretary Baker, also, returning on the George Washington, called up Acting Secretary Roosevelt while the ship was 200 miles at sea, and arranged some plans for his return to Washington.

It should be noted that, in addition to the radiotelephone developments which have been described, there have been carried on also, during the war, all of the applications of this telephone to aircraft. These applications will be considered in another section.


Subchaser telephone set connections.
Subchaser telephone set connections.
FIG. 5
FIG. 5 - a photographic representation of the variation of modulation and antenna currents in this conversation. Secretary Baker, also, returning on the George Washington, called up Acting Secretary Roosevelt while the ship was 200 miles at sea, and arranged some plans for his return to Washington.

Development.—On May 31, 1917, a conference was held at Hyattsville, Md., between Mr. J. H. Holers, inventor of the underground radio system, and Commander S. C. Hooper, U. S. Navy, Lieut. Commander A. Hoyt Taylor, U. S. Naval Reserve Force, and Expert Radio Aid G. H. Clark, as representatives of the Bureau of Steam Engineering. During this conference, the merits of the system were presented, and, as a result, it was decided that the Navy would investigate underground radio thoroughly to determine its availability for naval use.

For this investigation, the Bureau authorized Lieut. Commander Taylor to establish a laboratory at Great Lakes, Ill. This laboratory was organized on August 1, 1917, with the following personnel: Lieut. Commander Taylor, director: Radio Gunner (later ensign) A. Crossley, U. S. Naval Reserve Force, officer in charge; Chief Electrician R. G. Matthews, U. S. Naval Reserve Force, electrician: and a detail of five enlisted men.

Experiments at Great Lakes.—The laboratory was not completed until October, 1917. Since early results were necessary, experiments were begun immediately at the main radio station, Great Lakes. Combinations of insulated wire and bare antenna wire were tested, and the results proved that the underground system had fair possibilities. Signals were received from long-ware are stations with readable intensity, while very poor signals came from spark stations. It was possible to copy arc stations through local electrical storms, and to copy as many as six stations while using the same set of underground wires. The use of a series condenser in the primary circuit gave better results and sharper tuning.

Experiments were next conducted on the shore of Lake Michigan to determine the feasibility of receiving signals on underground and underwater wires. Poor results were obtained with bare wires laid in sand, while better ones were had with wires a part of whose length was insulated. It was found that rubber-covered wires acted better than weatherproof wires, and that when wires were submerged in the lake the signal strength was increased tenfold.

It was discovered that underground wires had an “optimum” or most favorable length for each of the different wave lengths. For example, two No. 12 waterproof wires, 300 and 600 feet long respectively, were buried 1 foot below the surface in wet sand; the 600-foot wire gave the best results on long wave signals, the 300-foot wire on short wave. Again, it was noted that a 150-foot length of No. 12 waterproof wire had a signal strength three times that of a 300-foot length when receiving signals from 600-meter stations.


During experiments conducted between the University of Wisconsin and Great Lakes—in which the university transmitted on two wave lengths, 425 and 1,150 meters—it was found that the best wire length per wave length, using No. 12 rubber-covered wire, was equal to one-eighth of the transmitted wave length. It was also found that the best length of wire per wave length was the same, whether the wires were buried in wet sand or immersed in water.

These experiments also showed that underground wires had directive qualities; that is, wires pointing toward transmitting stations gave the best results, while wires laid at an angle of 90° to those stations worked poorly. In extended experiments later it was found in all cases that wires laid in the same plane and extending toward transmitting stations gave maximum signal strength.

Again, a small rectangle, 18 by 24 inches, wound with 15 turns of No. 18 wire placed in series with the ground wires proved that it was possible to balance out to a great extent signals received from the main radio station when copying distant stations. Better balance was obtained when receiving instruments were placed in a screened receiving room.

On November 15, 1917, the first transmitting experiments were conducted through a half-mile distance on underground wires. The optimum wire length per wave length was found to be equal to the wave length, showing that the wires were not aperiodic. They had also extremely high capacity and very small inductance. When a 4-kilowatt vacuum-tube transmitting set was used with the underground system it was possible to transmit through a distance of 30 miles from Great Lakes to Chicago. In comparative tests the same current was radiated into a 30-foot overhead antenna, with the result that the signal strength received at Chicago from the underground wires was twice that from the overhead antenna. A comparison was also made between the 11-foot rectangular antenna, wound with 18 turns of No. 13 copper wire, and the 2,300-foot underground wire on signals received from European stations. The results were that the underground system gave fifteen times the signal strength of the rectangle and also collected one-half the strays gathered in by the rectangle. Directive experiments with transmitting apparatus on underground wires showed that these wires have the same directive qualities for transmission as for reception.

A number of other primary experiments were conducted at Great Lakes by Lieut. Commander Taylor and later by Radio Gunner Crossley after the detachment of Lieut. Commander Taylor on October 20, 1917. On February 27, 1918, Gunner Crossley was ordered to Hampton Roads, Va., to install the underground system at the distant control station there.


Experiments at New Orleans.—Experiments were conducted during April, 1917, at New Orleans. La., by Mr. H. H. Lyons, assistant to J. H. Rogers, originator of the underground system. Mr. Lyons, working under the direction of Lieut. E. H. Loftin, U. S. Navy, made a series of experiments covering a period of three months, during which time promising results wore obtained on short and long wave reception. As a consequence, recommendations were made and carried out to establish a distant control station at New Orleans. This installation was the first of its kind in the world.

Experiments at Piney Point, Va.—Dr. L. W. Austin and Gunner J. Allen, of the United States Naval Radio Laboratory, conducted a series of experiments with the underground system at Piney Point. Va., in which various lengths of wire were submerged in Chesapeake Bay. and the results compared with those from the small antenna used at that place. The underground wires were found to be slightly superior.

Experiments at Belmar, N. J.—With regard to the experiments conducted at the Belmar trans-Atlantic receiving station, Lieut. Commander A. H. Taylor found that, by the use of the underground system, fair results were obtained in copying European stations up to the latter part of the spring of 1918, when, owing to heavy summer strays, he was compelled to resort to the use of balance circuits.

Experiments at the Rogers laboratory.—Ensign Crossley conducted a series of experiments at the laboratory of Mr. J. H. Rogers to determine whether there was a definite wire length for signals from long-wave stations. Tests showed that there is a sharply defined wire length for the reception of such signals. Other experiments were made to ascertain the effect of an iron protection over wires. It was found that the use of 20-foot iron pipe sections, insulated from each other by rubber hose through which magneto cable was run, gave practically the same results as Packard ignition cable buried in the earth, and that the use of continuous iron pipe covering over the wire reduced the signal strength to about one one-hundredth of that received on the other two wires.

General results from underground system.—In addition to the results noted, it should be stated that underground wires used at the main station, Great Lakes, to aid in the transcontinental traffic, gave satisfactory communication at all times between this station and those on the east and west coasts. Long-distance experiments also produced excellent results in receiving signals from the Atlantic and Gulf coastal stations and from ships where a regenerative receiver and one-stage De Forest amplifier were used.


Underwater radio development.—From June 1, 1918, to September 20, 1918, Messrs. Willoughby and Lowell, of the Bureau of Standards, conducted a series of experiments on submarines at New London. They found that by the use of an insulated loop on submarines it was possible to transmit 9 miles when submerged, and also to receive signals from high-power European radio stations when the periscopes were submerged to a distance of 21 feet from the surface. It was also found that, when using the insulated loop on board submarines, a transmitting radius on the surface was much greater than that of the average submarine antenna, owing to the fact that the antenna was subject to frequent grounding of insulators from spray.


Tuckerton.—The first work on transoceanic receiving done by the Navy after our entrance into the war was carried out at Sayville, Long Island, and at Tuckerton, N. J., both of which stations had been in the hands of the Navy for some time prior to April 6, 1917. In fact, both stations had carried on a good deal of traffic with Germany previous to the severance of diplomatic relations with that country. There was nothing unusual about the system at Tuckerton, except that receiving was accomplished, during part of the time at least, by the use of a 4-mile-long, single wire, which was part of an old telephone line. This antenna was almost aperiodic and probably had some directive properties, rendering it slightly superior to an ordinary antenna. The main antenna at Tuckerton was not used directly for receiving, but sometimes during reception. Improvement in signals was obtained by tuning this antenna to earth, so that it reradiated upon the receiving antenna, thereby increasing the strength of the signals.

The Zenneck receiving system.—At Sayville full advantage was taken of a special receiving system devised by Prof. Zenneck. This system utilized the Sayville counterpoise for receiving, with the latter split into halves for this purpose. The northeast section of the counterpoise was connected to one primary binding post and the southwest section to the other post; no ground connection was used. The secondary system was connected to a 2-stage radio-frequency amplifier, thence to a detector, and thence to a 2-stage audio-frequency amplifier. The circuits were very complicated, very difficult to adjust, and adapted to operation on a fixed wave. Change of wave length was a difficult and laborious process. The system gave, however, fairly good signals, which we now know were due largely to the directive properties of the counterpoise system used as an antenna. This station was the best one we had during the winter of 1917-18; it had the best operators.



Belmar.—The experience of the summer of 1917 was sufficient to demonstrate that communication with European stations during the summer period was extremely precarious and inefficient, owing to the summer phenomena of weak signals accompanied by heavy strays (static). The successful development at Great Lakes of the reception of radio signals on the Rogers submarine and subterranean antenna system induced the Bureau to install this system at Belmar, N. J., the radio station at this place having been taken over in April from the Marconi company, but not operated. By the end of October, 1917, Belmar was receiving on submerged wires laid on the inlet and on a 2,000-foot long land wire buried 2 feet deep. Belmar then became the control center for trans-Atlantic work.

The Weagant system.—Chief Engineer Roy Weagant of the Marconi company had been engaged in development work on trans-Atlantic receiving systems, whose principal purpose was the elimination of strays, and he was given every possible encouragement to continue this work at Belmar at the same time that Lieut. Commander Taylor was assigned to duty there (Oct. 17, 1917), with instructions to install the underground system. The Marconi experiments at Belmar were continued until the latter part of November, 1917, without being brought to a satisfactory conclusion, when the Weagant work was moved to Miami, Fla., and finally completed in the summer of 1918 at Lakewood, N. J. The Weagant system was never used on actual traffic by the Navy Department in trans-Atlantic work. The completion of the system at Lakewood was mainly the work of the Marconi company.

The Chatham station.—Early in November, Lieut. Commander Sweet, U. S. Navy (retired), accompanied by Lieut. Commander Taylor and Lieut. J. C. Cooper, jr., U. S. Naval Reserve Force, visited the Marconi receiving station at Chatham. Mass. It was decided to take it over for receiving purposes, the general idea at the time being that by having several receiving centers along the coast with wire connections to Belmar and Washington, it might be possible to get around local storms and strays, as receiving conditions would probably not be bad at all of these stations at the same time. The Chatham station also offered unusual opportunity—on account of the proximity of a salt-water bay and a fresh-water lake—to test the relative readaptability of signals on ground wires and wires immersed in salt water and in fresh water. A few weeks later the station was opened up and much data collected which showed that the salt-water wires gave the weakest, but at the same time the most readable, signals. Nevertheless, it was found almost invariably that Chatham could not make copy when Belmar could not make it, and therefore, in October, 1918, Chatham ceased to be used for trans-Atlantic reception.


The Otter Cliffs circuits.—In the meantime the remarkable receiving conditions at Otter Cliffs radio station (Bar Harbor, Me.), had been called to the attention of the Bureau, and early in 1918 the orders of Ensign A. Fabbri, later lieutenant, U. S. Naval Reserve Force, the officer in charge, were altered in such a way as to take him out of the district organization so far as trans-Atlantic work was concerned and to place him under the orders of the trans-Atlantic communication officer. Thus Bar Harbor was added to the chain of trans-Atlantic receiving centers, a step which was subsequently justified by that station proving to be the most ideally situated of all stations for the reception of trans-Atlantic signals. The remarkable absence of strays at Bar Harbor and the ingenious system of loop antennas and counterpoises used by Lieut. Fabbri gave early evidence that this station had great natural advantages. Figure 5 shows one of these circuits upon which much trans-Atlantic copy was made, the development of which is largely due to Chief Electrician W. E. Woods. It will be noted that the secondary circuit is coupled both to the loop and to another inductance which leads through a high resistance to ground from one leg of the loop. Recent investigations show that this is probably not the best possible arrangement, as the phases of the two currents collected in the receiver are not quite right with respect to each other. Great credit is due Lieut. Fabbri for the way in which this station was handled. In this he was ably seconded by Chief Electrician (radio) W. E. Woods, U. S. Naval Reserve Force, and Gunner R. Cole, U. S. Navy.

Belmar versus Otter Cliffs.—So far as the relative advantages of the Belmar and the Otter Cliffs circuits are concerned, it may be stated that, for trans-Atlantic work, the use of ground wires and submarine wires was found insufficient to cope with summer static until the system of balancing out the static by combining a submarine wire with a rectangle was devised.

Very satisfactory circuits were also devised whereby a submarine wire was balanced against one laid on the surface of the ground in lead-covered cable, or buried in dry earth. The only reason Belmar was able to compete at all with Bar Harbor, and finally to excel Sayville, was because of the introduction of these special receiving systems. Tuckerton was kept so busy transmitting that it had little opportunity for receiving. Sufficient comparisons were made, however, to show that Tuckerton’s receiving conditions, in spite of good personnel, were by no means equal to those at Belmar, even before the advent of the balanced circuits there. The best Bar Harbor circuits partially owe their success to the fact that they are


partly or wholly blind in the southwest direction, from which come the worst of the strays on long waves.

The Alexanderson barrage receiver.—Not the least interesting of the circuits experimented with by the Navy Department for transoceanic reception was the Alexanderson barrage receiver. Mr. E. F. IV. Alexanderson, of the General Electric Co., was given all information concerning the various antistatic systems in the hope that lie might be able to utilize it in the development of his barrage receiver, the circuits of which are shown in figure 4. As a result of this conference, which was held at Belmar, Mr. Alexanderson was able to substitute with satisfactory results wires laid on the ground for antenna on poles, greatly simplifying the installation. Part of the success of the system is undoubtedly due to the fact that it also possesses barrage properties, as has been strikingly demonstrated by recent experiments at New Orleans. The Alexanderson system, however, not only possesses barrage properties but has a pronounced focusing property, which is of very great value in eliminating interferences coming from the same direction as that from which the signal arrives.

The Austin circuits.—During the summer of 1918, Dr. L. W. Austin, of the Naval Radio Laboratory, developed a number of interesting circuits, which may be called balanced circuits. None of these was. however, used on actual trans-Atlantic traffic, but they have been utilized in transcontinental work. Some of them are shown in figures 1, 2, 3, 6, and 7.

Summary.—During the Navy's connection with trans-Atlantic radio a large number of receiving circuits were devised and tried out, partly by officers and civilians connected with the Navy and partly by representatives of the Marconi company and the General Electric Co. Of these it may be said that the Rogers underground, the Weagant circuit, the Belmar circuit, the Alexanderson barrage system, the Otter Cliffs (Bar Harbor) circuits, and some of the Austin circuits gave very decided improvements. One of the Austin circuits has the advantage of permitting multiple reception on the same loop and ground wires. (See fig. 3.) Of all these circuits, those of Otter Cliffs and Belmar are the simplest in operation and were the ones which were actually used in making official trans-Atlantic copy. After Otter Cliffs had been properly equipped and new circuits installed the copy made at that station was so certain that the Belmar station was, in February, 1919, closed and returned to the Marconi company. Combined with the advantages due to the geographical location of Bar Harbor, the station there was amply able to care for trans-Atlantic copy.


Figures 1, 2, & 3.
Figures 1, 2, & 3.
Figures 4, 5, 6, & 7.
Figures 4, 5, 6, & 7.
Figures 8, 9, & 10.
Figures 8, 9, & 10.



Before the war, only a small number for each type of vessel was contracted for each year, and, hence, some latitude was permissible in the design of installation details, radio-room arrangement, and antenna. With the advent of war and the consequent purchase of large quantities of standardized apparatus, uniformity of design in these respects became absolutely essential.

To effect this standardization, steps were taken immediately to secure and train the necessary personnel. This was, in itself, a considerable undertaking, since the number of employees familiar with the highly specialized needs of the Navy in these respects was very limited. There were, in fact, practically none who were not already employed in the various navy yards, where the pressure of work was such that they could not be spared for work in the Bureau.

This same shortage of trained radio engineering personnel was felt by the Emergency Fleet Corporation, and the Bureau therefore tendered its services to that organization. Plans were prepared for radio installation on the various standardized types of Emergency Fleet vessels, and the radio personnel at our navy yards was increased to provide for adequate technical assistance to the ship contractors who were charged with the installation of radio apparatus on the vessels they built.

In addition to the large number of merchant vessels thus cared for, plans were prepared for the new naval vessels provided for in the 1916 building program and in the various emergency acts. In each case this involved a thorough study of the duties and structural details of each class of vessel, and of the requirements of the types of radio apparatus assigned to that class. The performance of this work on many different types of vessels by the same men made possible a certain fixed similarity in arrangement and in the treatment of the various technical difficulties which were met.

In brief, then, the radio arrangements were standardized to the greatest possible extent. The value of such standardization is evident when it is considered that, with the rapid growth of the operating personnel, nearly three-fourths of it was entirely new to the service and could not be quickly brought to a high degree of efficiency if every ship to which a man were transferred differed from the one which he had just left. As a result of this policy of standardization, there were practically only two types of main radio rooms on destroyers built or contracted for during the war. The necessity for more than one arrangement was due to the fact that there was a change in the size of the radio room on later destroyers.


The following is an example of the many problems met in radio arrangements:

It was found that when a ship was torpedoed or struck a mine the shock of the explosion usually made the masts whip apart to such an extent that the halyards of the radio antenna would break under the strain; the antenna would drop, and the radio set would become useless at just the time when it was most urgently needed to send out an S O S call.

To meet this condition, a safety link was devised for location in the halyards at the ends of the antenna. The arrangement was such that the antenna was supported normally at each end by a wire which had approximately one-fourth of the tensile strength of the antenna proper. When the tops of the masts separated suddenly the safety link broke, and the antenna dropped a long distance until brought up by the halyards. In this way the antenna was lengthened about 5 feet at each end, and sufficient slack was provided to allow for the displacement of the mastheads. This safety link was fitted on all of our naval vessels which were on duty in European waters infested by submarines and mines, and also on ships of the Emergency Fleet Corporation.

The operation of vessels of our Navy with the fleets of the Allies made necessary many changes in the type and arrangement of the radio apparatus of our vessels.


The maintenance of the coastal radio stations, of radio stations for the vessels of the Shipping Board, and for privately owned commercial ships formed a very important part of the duties of the Bureau throughout the war.

When the United States entered the war the Bureau was, as noted previously, responsible for the maintenance in efficient condition of the 49 coastal radio stations of the Naval Communication Service, which were located along our Atlantic and Pacific coasts, in our outlying possessions, and at other strategic points, including one on the Great Lakes. These stations had been established, primarily, to provide communication facilities between the Navy Department and the Atlantic, Pacific, and Asiatic Fleets; and, secondarily, to safeguard life and property at sea.

Sixty-seven coastal radio stations had also been established at various points on the Atlantic and Pacific coasts, on the Great Lakes, and within the Hawaiian Islands, by commercial radio companies to supply facilities for communication between merchant ships and the coasts. These stations were maintained and operated


by their owners. There were approximately 600 merchant vessels under American registry equipped with radio, which was maintained by either the commercial radio organizations or the owners of the vessels.

War measures; commercial stations taken over; shipping board stations provided.—Upon the declaration of a state of war all shore radio stations within the jurisdiction of the United States, including the 67 coastal stations just noted, were taken over for operation or closed by the Navy in accordance with Executive order No. 2885, dated April 6, 1917. This order was based on the “act to regulate radio communication,” approved August 13, 1912.

This sweeping extension of the Bureau’s duties as to shore stations was followed by directions that it maintain for efficient operation the radio installations on all privately owned vessels operating under the United States flag, on which armed guards had been or were to be placed.

The Shipping Board had also commandeered about 450 vessels then building in American shipyards, and as it had neither the organization nor the technical personnel to install radio apparatus on these vessels, the Bureau offered to arrange for the purchase, installation, and subsequent maintenance and repair of this equipment for the account of the Shipping Board. The board accepted this offer and requested that the Bureau also arrange for similar service on the additional vessels for which contracts had been or would be let. This was agreed to, and arrangements were made at once to design and provide standard radio installations for Shipping Board vessels. Meanwhile all existing radio sets in the United States and Canada were purchased by the Navy for emergency installations on the vessels commandeered by the Shipping Board, since a number of these vessels were nearly or wholly completed, and except for a few, no provision for radio equipment had been made by their former owners.

Upon the subsequent requisitioning by the Shipping Board of virtually the whole American merchant marine, the Bureau was also charged with the maintenance of the radio installations on these vessels. Arrangements were made, therefore, to relieve the various commercial radio organizations of this work, and to assign it to the radio material organizations at navy yards.

As a result of the several war measures noted, and of the subsequent chartering by the Shipping Board of a large part of the merchant marine of neutral countries, the Bureau, when the armistice was signed, was responsible for 229 coastal radio stations and approximately 3,775 ship radio stations. The aggregate of these, when compared with the 49 coastal stations under the Bureau’s care


when hostilities began, shows the wide extension of naval, responsibility for the maintenance of radio communication which the war brought.

Contracts had also been let for radio apparatus sufficient to equip approximately 3,000 vessels for the Shipping Board. Some of these contracts were canceled, however, after the armistice was signed.

Major projects for shore radio stations during the war.—In addition to the great increase in the activities of the Bureau with regard to coastal and ship stations as outlined previously, various major projects were undertaken, during the war, as follows:

(a) The establishment of a number of new coastal stations to meet war emergencies, including 25 low-power stations in the vicinity of the several patrol headquarters, and also radio stations at the newly established naval air stations.

(b) The establishment of a radio station at Otter Cliffs, Me., and its development into a trans-Atlantic receiving station. Also the subsequent establishment of a transmitting station at Sea Wall, Me., to be distant controlled from Otter Cliffs, in order to give improved and increased facilities for communication between vessels—mainly transports—at sea and with the mainland.

(c) The removal of the Newport transmitting station to Melville, R. I., and the establishment of a distant coastal and receiving station at Coasters Harbor Island. This change was made owing to the possibility that explosions which had occurred in the magazines at the torpedo station, Newport, might have been caused by sparks from the discharge of inductively charged conductors within the magazine, which conductors might have been charged by the functioning of the near-by transmitting station.

(d) The enlargement and relocation of the Norfolk radio station and its distant control from the Naval Operating Base, Hampton Roads.

(e) The establishment of distant control and the underground receiving system at the New Orleans radio station.

(f) The establishment of distant control and the underground receiving system at Great Lakes, Ill.

(g) The establishment of three radio stations in the Republic of Panama for operation by the United States Naval Communication Service.

(h) The establishment of a radio station at Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Compensation for shore stations.—The taking over by the Navy, in conformity with the provisions of an act of Congress, of the commercial shore and ship radio stations involved the question of compensation to the owners for the shore radio stations and of special ar-


rangements with regard to the cost of maintenance of the leased installations in ship stations.

Compensation for stations that had been in operation a sufficient length of time to enable their earnings to be determined was fixed on the basis of these warnings and the value of the property. For low-power stations, a fixed rental was agreed upon for those that were kept in operation and a much lower rate for those that were closed.

The Government assumed all expense incidental to the maintenance of the stations which it operated, excepting the payment of taxes, rentals, and insurance, while for closed stations the owner assumed all expense without exception.

In general, the basis of compensation for shore radio stations was adopted after negotiations with the Marconi company in regard to their stations, and a like system adopted in settlement with other commercial radio organizations.

Compensation for ship radio stations.—The taking over of the ship radio stations of the American merchant marine involved the question of payment by the owners of expenditures incurred for repair to these small installations. This was arranged on the basis of a small payment monthly to cover the average actual cost on all ships.

A large number of these ship stations comprised installations leased from commercial radio companies, for which a rental was paid by the steamship owners. A few of the stations were, however, the property of the owners of the vessels.

When it is considered that on very short notice the operation and maintenance organizations of the commercial radio companies were disrupted and their activities assumed by the Navy—involving an immensely increased volume of work and many complex financial adjustments, which were largely repeated when these ship and shore stations were returned to their owners—it will be apparent that very cordial cooperation existed between the commercial companies and the Navy Department in the successful accomplishment of this difficult undertaking.

Purchase of the Federal and Marconi stations.—About 10 months after our entry into the war negotiations were begun by the Navy Department with the Federal Telegraph Co. for the purchase of its patents and shore radio stations. These negotiations were concluded satisfactorily, and on May 15, 1918, the Government acquired the patents of this company and its shore stations—three high-power and five coastal—for the sum of $1,000,000.

Shortly after the purchase of the Federal patents the Bureau received a resolution passed by the Shipping Board authorizing the purchase of all leased radio stations on vessels owned or controlled by the board. In accordance with this resolution negotiations were entered into with the Marconi company with a view to this purchase


for the account of the Shipping Board. These negotiations were not completed until about November 1, 1918; and, meanwhile, the Railroad Administration requested that the leased ship installations on its vessels be purchased also.

The Marconi company would consent to sell their ship installations only on the condition that the Government buy also their coastal radio stations. This was agreed to, and the purchase of 330 ship installations and 45 coastal stations was effected, as of November 30, 1918, for the sum of $1,450,000. As this purchase had been for a lump sum, it was necessary to have a basis of value for the ship stations—to be paid for by the Shipping Board and the Railroad Administration—separately from the value of the coastal radio stations which were acquired for the account of the Navy. This was accomplished by appraising the ship installations at a figure representing 20 per cent less than the price paid by the Navy for similar radio sets bought in quantity when new. It was believed that this arrangement provided a generous allowance for the depreciation of the equipment, and, further, the average price represented about one year and nine months’ rental on the equipment as charged previously by the Marconi company. On this basis of settlement the lump sum of $1,450,000 was divided as follows:

Shipping Board: For the radio installations of 267 vessels $519,200
Railroad Administration: For the radio installations on 63 vessels 141,200
Navy: For 45 shore radio stations, including the Ketchikan, Juneau-Astoria Alaskan circuit, the South Wellfleet (obsolete) high-power station, and the leased shore radio stations 789, 500

Summary.—Notwithstanding the greatly increased activities of the Bureau with regard to coastal and merchant ship stations, including those for the Shipping Board, all demands made with respect to these stations were satisfied promptly. The construction of additional coastal radio stations and the improvement of other similar stations to meet war emergencies were accomplished without delay, as was also the taking over and operation of the commercial shore and ship stations.